2 July 2020 | Comment | Article by Mary Mulhall
A grandmother, who recently won damages from her former employer, Marks and Spencer, has decided to speak out for the first time to warn others of the dangers of working around asbestos.
Eileen Inman is hoping that by revealing her story, during Action Mesothelioma Day, she will help others whose lives have been affected by cancer contracted through occupational asbestos exposure.
Eileen was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2016 – 48 years after starting work at the high street retailer’s store in Staines, Surrey. She was employed in 1968, at the age of 15, and worked there until 1973. Her condition is terminal and she only has months to live.
The 66 year old, believes that she was exposed to asbestos when refurbishment work was carried out at the store and she was asked to clean up some of the mess, including broken ceiling tiles and sweeping up dust.
Just before Christmas, Eileen was awarded a damages settlement of £285,000 from Marks and Spencer after her Solicitors at Hugh James helped her fight her case for justice. Her former employer also agreed to fund her immunotherapy treatment. This financial assistance will help Eileen manage her devastating illness and hopefully buy her some precious extra time with her loved ones.
Speaking of her experience, Eileen Inman said today:
Asbestos was used a lot because it was a good fire material. But, of course, going back all those years, I knew nothing about it. You don’t have to be in the environment where asbestos is. If your partner is out working and comes home with the dust on his clothes, just by washing them, then you’ve exposed yourself and you can actually end up with this cancer. It is slow moving so it can take up to 40 years.
I hope that, by holding Marks and Spencer to account, I might be able to help other people in a similar position to me, if they come forward early enough. It might help them pay for treatment and prolong their quality of life. I don’t know if I’m going to have the time to do that.
Her lawyer, Mary Mulhall, Senior Associate at Hugh James said today:
Sadly, Eileen’s plight is all-too common. Cancer has taken Eileen’s health and her future, but her settlement will enable her to support herself and her family through this difficult time. Asbestos Awareness Week is an important initiative which raises awareness of the dangers people have been put through by asbestos exposure. I hope others are helped through learning about Eileen’s experience.