The widow of a former Cowley plant steel worker is making an emotional plea to find out the cause of her husband's asbestos-related cancer.

Father-of-eight Graham Wheatley, from Aylesbury, died in March 2018 age 74. His death followed a diagnosis of mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of the lungs, commonly associated with exposure to asbestos.

Before he died, Mr Wheatley instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers to investigate how he developed the illness and whether his exposure could have been a result of his working life.

His widow Susan Wheatley, 66 is now continuing with the investigation alongside the legal team and appealing to anyone that worked for Pressed Steel alongside her late husband to come forward with information on the working conditions he faced.

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Mr Wheatley was based at the Cowley plant in Oxford between 1965 and 1975. His role was to operate a forklift truck loading car parts, which often contained asbestos, on and off lorries. This included brakes, which were not well stacked within the crates so when they were lifted or moved, the asbestos would be disturbed and released dust and fibres into the air.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Wheatley’s brother Clive worked alongside him and he recalled that the forklifts would also accidentally knock and damage the pipework, which was lagged with asbestos.

Mr Wheatley had back pain in 2017 and he was referred to hospital in October that year, where he underwent a series of tests including a CT scan. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2018 and died two months later on 26 March.

Mrs Wheatley said: “To this day, it is still incredibly upsetting to know Graham is no longer here. After he was given the diagnosis, he deteriorated so quickly. He began falling over, lost a lot of weight, and was breathless and fatigued. He was very weak towards the end and would just lay in bed a lot; it was unbearable to see him like that and I still miss him terribly.

“While there is nothing I can do to bring him back, all I can do now is get the answers he deserved. I would really appreciate it if any of his workmates would come forward with details that could help us determine what led him to develop such a horrible illness.”

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