Appeal to solve dad’s death

Asbestos victim John Poyser
Asbestos victim John Poyser

A SON is appealing for help in solving the mystery surrounding his father’s death from asbestos poisoning.

John Poyser was struck down with terminal cancer caused by contact with the deadly material and died aged 80 of mesothelioma in October last year.

Now son David, 55, is asking for anyone who worked with his father at firms - including a now-defunct St Helens firm - identified as the most likely sites where he came into contact with the toxic fibres. He also fears some of his father’s colleagues may also have been contaminated with the lethal substance.

David, a retired printer of Lows Street, Golborne, said: “It was heartbreaking to watch my dad go downhill towards the end. He was as fit as a fiddle and active, then this disease took hold. He went from a muscly lad to a skeleton in no time.”

Suspicion has fallen on two companies - one in Wigan where Mr Poyser worked during the 1960s which is still running today but will no longer use asbestos, if it ever did - and Community Industry Limited in St Helens, which employed the grandfather for nine years in the 1980s - as the most likely sites where he was contaminated.

Mr Poyser said: “My dad did lots of jobs throughout his working life but I do remember him talking about some terrible conditions at those two sites. He used to work for a company in Wigan in the 1960s. Part of his work involved cutting asbestos. He used to come back covered in dust.”

David recalls his father demanding bosses at Community Industry - which had an office in St Helens - provide safety equipment to protect workers from the dirt and dust but ended up having to buy it himself.

“His last job before he retired was working for Community Industry Limited which helped underprivileged kids from borstal get work experience and try and get on the career ladder. They used to do anything - knocking down or renovating old buildings on dozens of sites around St Helens. It was really filthy work. I remember him coming home from work complaining that the bosses weren’t providing them with masks and overalls. He ended up having to buy breathing masks for him and the lads himself.

“He was aware that it was a dirty place but didn’t realise that he could have been deadly. I know the floors were made of asbestos. He used to come home covered in dust. It was only when he worked there that he realised how bad it was at the Wigan firm. I can remember him saying that if he knew all this before, when he worked at that other firm, he’d have done something about it.”

Mr Poyser hopes to take legal action against those responsible for exposing his father to asbestos. He added: “It is important that we do get answers about where my dad came into contact with asbestos. Not just for us but for the other people who worked with my dad.

“You know who I feel sorry for if this started in Community Industries: the kids who worked there. It’s just appalling.”

Mr Poyser’s lawyer Bridget Collier, of Slater and Gordon, said: “Mr Poyser’s life was cut short because of his contact with asbestos.

“We hope to hear from anyone who worked on those sites or with Mr Poyser so we can understand whether he would have come into contact with the asbestos.”

Anyone with details can email Ms Collier at bridget.collier@fentons.co.uk or call 0844 854 3089.

The firm for which Mr Poyser worked in the ’60s declined to comment and the Reporter has withheld its identity for legal reasons.

Community Industries Ltd no longer exists as a company.