Family seek mum’s former colleagues after asbestos-related death

HELP WANTED: Robert Routledge with a photo of his mum Iris, who worked at Fulwell Infants School.
HELP WANTED: Robert Routledge with a photo of his mum Iris, who worked at Fulwell Infants School.
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THE family of a former school cleaner who died after coming into contact with asbestos is hoping to track down her colleagues.

Iris Routledge died in November 2012, aged 86.

Mrs Routledge had worked at the old Fulwell Infants School, in Sunderland, as a cleaner from 1963 until the 1990s.

The school was demolished shortly after she left.

After becoming ill with stomach cancer almost two years ago, she died suddenly at the city’s Royal Hospital with the official cause found to be mesotheleoma due to exposure to asbestos.

Now, with the help of a Wearside firm of solicitors, Mrs Routledge’s family is hoping to track down other staff who worked with her at Fulwell Infants School – as they believe this is where she may have come into contact with the deadly substance.

It is believed that the source of the asbestos was an old coal-fired boiler, which is thought to have been lagged with the substance.

Mrs Routledge’s son Robert, 57, who along with his brother Colin, 55, used to go with their mum to the school during the summer holidays, told the Echo: “I can remember we used to be up and down to the boiler room, and that’s where all of the cleaning equipment was kept so that’s what we think is the source of it.

“There’s a good chance that all of the people who worked with my mam aren’t here anymore but if they are then we’d like to hear from them or their families as it could explain things.”

Law firm Treanors, based in John Street, in Sunderland city centre, is assisting the family in the search for answers.

Jane Lowes, of Treanors, said: “We understand that a Mr Potts was the school’s caretaker after taking over in 1985, and we’d like to speak to him or his family if possible.

“Mrs Routledge worked at the school for decades but it is difficult to track people down.”

Anybody who worked at the Fulwell Infants School with Mrs Routledge or knows of someone who died should call Treanors on 565 7395 or email