Call to factory workmates after ‘killer dust’ death of tailoress

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The devoted husband of a former tailoress who died from an asbestos-related cancer is appealing for his wife’s former colleagues to come forward after describing her death as an “absolute travesty”.

June Preston, who had previously fought breast cancer, died from mesothelioma in March after a two-and-a-half year battle with the incurable condition.

She believed she came into contact with the deadly dust while working at Service Tailoring Co, better known as Town Tailors, in Castleford.

The mother of two instructed industrial illness experts at Irwin Mitchell before her death.

Her husband Robert Preston appealed for any of her former colleagues, or anyone who worked at the company in the 1960s, to come forward with information about working conditions there.

Mrs Preston, the aunt of former Featherstone Rovers and Great Britain rugby league player Chris Bibb, joined Town Tailors after leaving school in 1961 at the age of 15.

During her five years at the Coronation Mills-based factory, she worked close to the presses which were powered by steam pipes which is claimed were lagged with asbestos insulation.

It is alleged the pipes were not maintained and the dust which came off was swept up daily by one of the factory workers, allowing the toxic particles to contaminate the air around Mrs Preston and her fellow workers.

Her husband Robert, now 72, said the diagnosis had come as a terrible blow.

“It was absolutely devastating, and to think that it happened so long ago and that nothing could be done about it was agonising.

“We had another three years 
together, but her condition 
only deteriorated,” Mr Preston said.

“It’s an absolute travesty that June’s life was cut short because she was exposed to asbestos four decades ago.”

Anybody who believes they may be able to help should contact Ian Toft at Irwin Mitchell on 0870 1500 100.