"Watching him deteriorate was devastating": Yorkshire widow of man lost to asbestos disease in heartfelt plea

The widow of a Kirklees man who died from an asbestos disease has made a heartfelt to plea to former workers to help uncover how her husband fell ill.

Pictured, Steven Haythorne, from Batley. Photo credit: Submitted photo

Steven Haythorne, from Batley, fell unwell five years ago with respiratory problems and two years later he was diagnosed with asbestos disease.

Sadly after his condition deteriorated Steven died last April aged 77, leaving behind his wife Jacqueline, who he was married to for 57 years, his two children and two grandchildren.

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Asbestos disease is a long-term inflammation and scarring of the lungs due to breathing in asbestos fibres and the condition often develops several decades after exposure to the hazardous material.

An inquest concluded that Steven died as the result of an industrial disease and since his death, his wife Jacqueline,76, has continued the investigation alongside his legal team.

“Steven was such a loving husband and it’s still terribly difficult to accept him no longer being here," Jacqueline said. "When he was diagnosed, it came as such a shock to us, and to think that his work could have been to blame is awful."

Steven’s loved ones are now seeking information from his former colleagues on the working conditions he faced.

In particular, they are keen to hear from anyone who worked alongside Steven at ICI’s Huddersfield site or when he worked on Thornhill Power Station in Dewsbury while employed by the Central Electricity Generating Board.

Jacqueline said: “Watching Steven deteriorate was devastating and I know that nothing will ever bring him back, but I hope that we can get the answers he sought before he died. That’s all I can do now to try and get him the justice he deserved."

Steven initially worked as an apprentice fitter, before qualifying as a maintenance fitter and was employed by ICI between 1961 and 1966, and later again between 1969 and 1993, based at its Huddersfield site on Leeds Road.

Between 1966 and 1969, Steven was employed by the Central Electricity Generating Board, where he worked in the boiler houses and on generators at power stations - in particular, he worked on the Thornhill Power Station, in Dewsbury.

It is believed that he may have been exposed to asbestos when removing asbestos lagging from pipework, with colleagues undertaking the same work within the vicinity of his area. He did this for around 20 years, with some of the work carried out in the boiler houses.

Following his diagnosis in 2018, Steven instructed asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and where he could have come into contact with asbestos.

Lucy Andrews, the specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Jacqueline, said: “Steven’s death is yet another reminder of the terrible legacy that the use of asbestos has left behind, and losing him has had a profound effect on Jacqueline who is struggling to come to terms with everything.

“While nothing can change what has happened, we are determined to get Jacqueline the answers she needs to honour Steven’s memory.

“We would therefore be grateful if anyone who worked for the two companies mentioned could come forward with any information that may help with our investigations.

“Any detail, no matter how small, could prove vital.”

Anyone with information that may assist with this case is asked to contact Lucy Andrews on 07885 261317 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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