THE widow of a carpenter from Oxfordshire has urged his former colleagues to come forward following his death from asbestos-related cancer – only a month after diagnosis.

Richard Swan, of Kennington, died last year from mesothelioma – a cancer of the lungs associated with exposure to asbestos.

When the 67-year-old received the devastating news in June last year he hired a team of lawyers to investigate his illness and how he may have developed it.

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Born and raised in the village of Marcham, near Abingdon, Mr Swan worked as a general carpenter for almost 15 years.

Not long after he turned 18, he began working for Campbells (Wantage) Ltd from 1969 until 1975 or 1976 and then for Winterbourne Building and Civil Engineering Limited from 1978/79 to 1982/83.

His family believe he was probably exposed to asbestos while working for one or both of the companies.

Mr Swan’s wife Jose, 65, appealed to any of his former workmates to come forward and assist the investigation.

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She said: “Richard was a wonderful husband who worked hard all his life and did not deserve to have his life ended in this way.

“We were looking forward to the rest of our lives together and I miss him every day.”

Mr Swan first started to suffer with severe pain, coughing and breathlessness early last year, and his GP referred him for a chest X-ray in April.

After several hospital stays, many tests, biopsies and X-rays, the 67-year-old was diagnosed with terminal mesothelioma.

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Mrs Swan it was ‘devastating’ to see how quickly her husband deteriorated.

She continued: “I had lost my husband and my best friend.

“Nothing can bring Richard back but if any of his former friends and colleagues could help us, the family and I would be so grateful.”

A spokesperson for the family’s legal firm Irwin Mitchell said that Mr Swan was involved in all aspects of building work.

This included installing and taking down internal walls, putting up fireproof doors, insulation and the boxing in of steel beams.

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Back then, both internal walls and fireproof doors were often insulated with asbestos because of its fire-resistant properties.

They said that Mr Swan specifically recalled working on the refurbishment of a convent, where he believes he was exposed to the potentially harmful material.

Iain Shoolbred, the specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Richard was a much loved husband and a family man.

“He and his wife Jose were extremely close.

“The family believe he was probably exposed to asbestos whilst working for these companies.

“However, the speed of the illness meant Richard passed away before he could provide all the vital information, so any details held by his former colleagues could prove a huge help.

“If anyone recalls working at either Campbells or Winterbourne Building could come forward and help us, it would mean a lot to Jose and the family and could make all the difference.”

Anyone who would like to speak to the Swan's legal team can contact Iain Shoolbred at the Birmingham office of Irwin Mitchell on 0121 214 5446 or email