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‘I need answers’: Terminally-ill man’s asbestos appeal after cancer diagnosis

PUBLISHED: 14:00 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:40 08 April 2020

Barry Henry, from New Costessey, is appealing for his ex-work mates to get in touch about working with asbestos. Photo: Barry Henry

Barry Henry, from New Costessey, is appealing for his ex-work mates to get in touch about working with asbestos. Photo: Barry Henry

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A former maintenance man with terminal cancer linked to asbestos is appealing for his ex-workmates to get in touch to help him get answers.

Barry Henry, worked for the Eastern Gas Board and the UEA. Photo: Barry HenryBarry Henry, worked for the Eastern Gas Board and the UEA. Photo: Barry Henry

Barry Henry, 84, from New Costessey, was diagnosed with a form of lung cancer, called mesothelioma, last Christmas.

According to the NHS website it is linked to asbestos exposure and is rarely curable,

Mr Henry said last year he became increasingly breathless, had a dry cough and weight loss.

When he visited his GP he was sent to the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital where two litres of fluid was drained from his lung.

Barry Henry, pictured during his service days. Photo: Barry HenryBarry Henry, pictured during his service days. Photo: Barry Henry

The father-of-two said the diagnosis was like having the “sword of Damocles” hanging over him.

He said he had always been fit, making the diagnosis a shock to him and his family.

Mr Henry wants to track down where he might have come into contact with the asbestos.

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He is appealing to his old workmates to come forward with any information they remember.

Mr Henry worked as a gas fitter for the Eastern Gas Board from 1951 until 1964.

He was then employed in maintenance at the University of East Anglia (UEA) until 1969, before returning to the Gas Board until 1993.

He has a letter from the UEA to staff dated 1976 confirming there was asbestos in buildings, but the letter said it was “most unlikely” there were any effects.

However symptoms take at least three decades to appear.

His solicitor, Martyn Hayward from Ashtons Legal, said to pursue a case against either the UEA, or the successors of the Eastern Gas Board, Mr Henry needed to hear what his workmates remembered.

“He wouldn’t want others to go through what he and his family are having to endure, and there is the possibility that former colleagues or others may also be at risk,” Mr Hayward said.

A UEA spokesman said: “As an employer we fully meet our responsibilities to prevent exposure of asbestos to anyone on the university premises.

“Asbestos can be present in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000, and it is safe provided the asbestos is not disturbed.”

Mr Hayward can be contacted on 01223 431112, or by email at martyn.hayward@ashtonslegal.co.uk


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