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Devastated husband of ex-Sunderland seamstress appeals for help over her asbestos death

Jean Davis died from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related disease.
Jean Davis died from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related disease.
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The husband of a retired seamstress from Sunderland who died from an asbestos-related disease is appealing for her old workmates to help him find answers over her illness.

Jean Davis died in February at Sunderland Royal Infirmary, aged 81 - about 11 months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lung linked to asbestos exposure.

Jean Davis, in the black dress, is pictured at a Christmas party with colleagues from Luxdon's laundry.

Jean Davis, in the black dress, is pictured at a Christmas party with colleagues from Luxdon's laundry.

A week after she passed away, an inquest was held, with the senior coroner for Sunderland, Derek Winter, recording a conclusion of death by industrial disease.

Following the hearing, Gordon Davis, her husband of almost 60 years, instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office to investigate her illness and whether her exposure to the deadly material could have been avoided.

As part of their investigations, they are appealing for anyone who worked with Jean during her time as a seamstress at County Luxdon Laundry Ltd’s Wycliffe Road site in Sunderland between 1972 and 1989 to come forward.

Emma Tordoff, the lawyer representing Mr Davis, said: “Just a couple of months on from her death, Jean’s family remain understandably devastated by their loss, and are desperate to understand how she came to develop mesothelioma.

“We are determined to ensure that Jean’s loved ones gain justice regarding her death.

"We would be hugely grateful to anyone who may be able to shed further light on the presence of asbestos at this site and the working conditions that Jean would have generally faced.”

Jean’s role at County Luxdon Laundry – which was later known as De Mille Cleaners – involved her working within the pressing area.

Irwin Mitchell has already heard from some witnesses who have outlined how the area was very hot due to the presence of presses and irons.

It has also been suggested that pipework close to where Jean worked was lagged with asbestos.

Mr Davis, 83, said: “Losing Jean has been incredibly difficult for me and the entire family.

"She was a very proud and secretive woman, so many of the family only ultimately learned of her illness around Christmas time, when her condition had deteriorated.

“While nothing will ever change what has happened, we all just want to know whether her illness could have been prevented and whether more should have been done to protect her.

"If anyone can help it would be hugely appreciated.”

Anyone with information related to this matter is asked to contact Emma Tordoff at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office on 0191 279 0095 or email emma.tordoff@irwinmitchell.com.

For more information on asbestos and mesothelioma, visit the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance website.