Relatives search for answers after Wigan dad's death

The family of a Wigan man who died of an asbestos-related condition is desperately searching for his ex-colleagues to help bring a legal case against his former employers.

Friday, 25th October 2019, 10:50 am
Sharon Gorst and daughter Ciara, 19, holding a photograph of Sharons father Brian Grounds

Brian Grounds, from Landgate, died from mesothelioma in March this year at the age of 76, barely a month after being diagnosed with the disease.

His devastated relatives believe he was exposed to asbestos while he was working at GKN Crompton in the mid-1960s or then at Plessey Telecommunications where he spent 15 years until 1983.

However, in order to amass enough evidence to go further, the legal firm representing them needs to hear from witnesses who worked alongside Mr Grounds.

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His daughter Sharon Gorst said: “He went downhill very quickly after he was diagnosed.

“He had been in hospital for a couple of tests and they thought it was pneumonia but when they did more advanced tests the diagnosis of mesotheliona was made.

“We felt that as it was asbestos-related someone was responsible and is to blame for dad’s death. We just want to know who that is to bring closure.

“It’s hard to pin down because dad never discussed it with us and when the solicitor interviewed him he was very tired and it was a hardship for him.

“We’re just looking for anyone who can place him at either company, anyone who worked with him or knew about asbestos in those buildings.”

Dad-of-four Mr Grounds was a work-study engineer and estimator involved in time and motion studies and productivity.

He joined the Ashton lock and key company in 1965 and stayed there for three years.

The year he left he joined Plessey Telecommunications, which had sites at Lamberhead Green near Orrell and Huyton.

The family is being represented in their legal battle by Daniel Nicholas, a chartered legal executive from The Asbestos Law Partnership.

He said there have been a number of cases involving Plessey in the past but for claims to be brought against GKN Crompton is more unusual.

He also repeated the family’s appeal for anyone who remembers working with Mr Grounds between 1965 and 1983 to come forward.

Mr Nicholas said: “It is tragic that Brian’s family is unable to progress to bring their claim because they need witness evidence that shows he was exposed to asbestos.

“People in industry were exposed to asbestos when the government and asbestos industry knew that it was a danger to individuals. That was from 1965, if not earlier.

“As a result we see a significant number of individuals who develop asbestos-related disease, including cancers.

“Unfortunately, the number of these is not reducing and continues to grow.

“We would make an appeal for anyone who has information about asbestos at either GKN Crompton or Plessey to get in touch with us.”

Anyone who worked alongside Mr Grounds and knew about asbestos can contact Mr Nicholas by ringing 0161 235 6339 or emailing [email protected]