'He was my soulmate': Widow of former draftsman appeals to his workmates after cancer death

Derek Judson, from LiversedgeDerek Judson, from Liversedge
Derek Judson, from Liversedge
The widow of a former draftsman who died from lung cancer is making a heartfelt plea for information on the conditions he worked in to help establish how he fell ill.

Derek Judson, from Liversedge, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019. His condition deteriorated and he died in December that year aged 86.

Following his death, his wife Jacqueline instructed specialist asbestos-related lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the illness that killed her husband.

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She has joined with her legal team in appealing to Derek’s former work colleagues at Cape Asbestos at Acre Mill, near Hebden Bridge.

Acre Mill, Hebden BridgeAcre Mill, Hebden Bridge
Acre Mill, Hebden Bridge

Derek was employed by Cape, which was an asbestos processing company, between 1949 and 1951. He worked as a draftsman and was based in the drawing office located near the factory at Acre Mill.

Dominic Riley, the specialist disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Jacqueline, said: “Losing Derek in such a tragic way has had a profound effect on Jacqueline and the rest of the family.

“Through our work we come across many families devastated by asbestos, seemingly many years after exposure is believed to have occurred.

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"In Derek’s case this is no different, with his contact most likely have taken place when he worked for Cape, a company responsible for manufacturing asbestos.

“While we can’t change what happened to Derek, we are determined to secure answers for his family and would be grateful if anyone who worked alongside him in the office at Cape would come forward and help with our investigation.

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

Derek began to feel unwell in early 2019. Following a series of tests, he was diagnosed with lung cancer, which was thought to have been associated with him being exposed to asbestos during his time at Cape.

He died on December 7, 2019. At the time of his death, he had been married to Jacqueline for 37 years.

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Jacqueline said: “My whole world was turned upside down when Derek died. He was my soulmate and I couldn’t imagine him not being here anymore.

“When he was diagnosed it was a huge shock. In the weeks leading up to his death, he deteriorated so quickly and it was incredibly upsetting to know there was nothing we could do.

“I would give anything to turn back the clock and for him to still be with me, but that isn’t possible, so all I can hope for now is that we can honour his memory by getting the answers we need.

“I would be so grateful if anyone could help by coming forward with information.”

Anyone that can assist with this case is asked to contact Dominic Riley on 07789 745409 or by email at [email protected]