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'My dad is determined to know how he was exposed to asbestos after incurable disease diagnosis'

The daughter of a former carpenter is appealing for help in establishing how her dad was exposed to asbestos leading to his diagnosis with an asbestos-related disease.

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John Parkes from Cannock has been diagnosed with asbestosis, a condition where the inside of the lung becomes scarred. It is most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.

After his diagnosis, John, aged 81, instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and if it could be linked to his work history.

John struggles to communicate after a stroke last year so his daughter Maxine Caine, aged 59, is helping her dad in his appeal for his former colleagues to come forward with information on the conditions he would have worked under.

She has now joined her dad and his legal team to appeal to his former workmates to contact them.

They are keen to trace anyone who worked with John during his time at John Laing Construction, based in Wolverhampton from 1964 to 1965; Carillion Capital Projects (formerly Sir Alfred McAlpine) in 1965 and Bosunmere Ltd (formerly C Bryant and Son) from 1968 to 1979.

After leaving school at the age of 15 in 1958, John was employed by all the firms on building projects throughout the Staffordshire region and used various products in the production of soffits which are long straight boards fixed directly to the roof of a house.

John Parkes who has asbestosis

He would cut them to size using a hand saw, a process which released clouds of dust into the air and remembers cutting between five and 10 sheets per day.

John had always enjoyed good health, until he started to experience symptoms including breathlessness. he was advised by his GP to go to hospital to be investigated and underwent tests. Following these tests John was given the diagnosis of asbestosis in May 2021.

Maxine said: “Dad’s a wonderful father and friend. He’s always been hard working and considerate and is never happier than when spending time with our extended family.

“He has always been active and loves his golf, so to see him struggle in the period leading up the asbestosis diagnosis was really hard. He’s determined to get to the bottom of how he was exposed to asbestos but the stroke made it harder for him to communicate, so the rest of the family and I are pitching in to help where we can.

“It would be really useful to hear what dad’s old workmates might recall about their time on the same jobs. Dad says they often worked in pairs to make cutting and handling materials easier.

Maria Roberts, the expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell is supporting John and Maxine and said: “There’s currently no cure for asbestosis and while there’s nothing we can do to change what John’s going through, we’re determined to support him and Maxine as they find the answers they’re looking for concerning John’s asbestos exposure.

“If any of John’s former workmates could come forward with information, it would be greatly appreciated by John and Maxine and could help provide the answers he is looking for.”

Anyone with information that could help John and Maxine with the investigation is asked to contact Maria Roberts at Irwin Mitchell on 0121 203 4025 or email Maria at: