A retired police constable from Cumbria who was diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer has joined forces with legal experts to call on his former colleagues to come forward and help him gain answers regarding how the illness emerged.
Douglas Darby, 69, from Millom, first developed symptoms including shortness of breath and fatigue in September 2016 and following a range of tests it was confirmed in late 2016 that he had developed mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lung linked to asbestos exposure.
After receiving the news, he instructed asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he developed the illness and help him secure justice regarding the problems.
Now, as part of their ongoing work, the legal experts are appealing for information about the working conditions Douglas would have faced when he was a postal worker at the General Post Office in Millom between 1965 and 1979, as well as during his time as a police constable at Sellafield Power Station from 1979 up until his retirement in 2009.
Kirstie Devine, the legal expert and asbestos-related disease specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office who represents Douglas, said: “Our client is understandably devastated by his diagnosis but remains determined to do everything he can to learn more regarding how he came to develop the illness.
“We would be hugely grateful to anyone who may be able to provide information regarding the presence of asbestos at these two sites, as any such detail could be vital as we aim to secure funds which will support him in the coming months.
“Asbestos has had a terrible impact on so many lives and it is only right those affected by the material through no fault of their own are able to gain justice.”
Douglas’s role at the General Post Office involved a host of tasks including going to the boiler house at the rear of the building to rake the boiler and stock it up with coke.
He recalled: “I remember that it was a tight squeeze to get into the room and that the boiler and pipework was all lagged with asbestos. The lagging was always in poor condition and I would have disturbed asbestos fibres while going about my jobs in the room.”
After leaving the General Post Office, Douglas then went on to work as a police officer for the UK Atomic Energy Authority at Sellafield Power Station. During his time there the organisation’s name changed to Civil Nuclear Constabulary and then the Civil Nuclear Police Authority.
He added: “My role at Sellafield involved undertaking various shifts in different parts of the power station and there was asbestos present both across the site and also within the Police Control Centre where we worked out of.
“Having to battle this illness has been incredibly difficult and it is hard to take that it may have been caused by my work. I would be grateful to anyone who may be able to provide information which will help me gain justice regarding what I am going through.”
Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact Kirstie Devine at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office on 0191 279 0136 or email [email protected].