Family of West Bromwich man who died from asbestos-related cancer appeals to his former workmates for help

The family of a former West Bromwich ceiling fitter are appealing to people who worked with him to help establish how he contracted the asbestos-related cancer that claimed his life.

Robert Calderwood Spence
Robert Calderwood Spence

Robert Calderwood Spence, known as Robbie, who grew up in Scotland, died months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2019, a cancer of the lining of the lung.

In light of the 73-year-old’s death, his daughter, Janet Spence, 55, now wants to investigate how Robbie developed the illness.

Janet is appealing for anyone who worked with Robbie to come forward and provide information on whether he may have been exposed to asbestos during his working life.

They are particularly keen to hear from anyone who worked alongside Robbie in the suspended ceiling trade in the West Bromwich area in the 1980s, and when Robbie worked in the building trade in the late 1960s.

Speaking about her father and the appeal, Janet Spence said: "Dad was a sociable and witty character. He was very generous with a broad Scottish accent.

"Despite the time that has passed, I’m not sure I can ever fully get over losing my Dad and just how much I still miss seeing him and hearing his voice at home.

"Dad was a kind and hardworking man and didn’t deserve to have his retirement cut short by this disease or to have to suffer at the end, through no fault of his own.

"It’s not been easy but I feel I owe it to dad to find out how he came to be exposed to asbestos and get the answers he now can never seek to find for himself.

"We didn’t get much time together in those last weeks before his death to discuss his work history in any detail.

"From what he said, it sounds like Dad did encounter asbestos in his career but if any of his old workmates could come forward and help us, I would be so grateful."

Outside of work before the developing symptoms, Robbie was a keen golfer, enjoyed meeting his friends at the local pub and enjoyed doing things for his family.

The family has appointed asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help.

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