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Derby widow appeals for help from late husband's Rolls Royce co-workers

Harold and Kathleen Jennings
19th December 2017

A widow who lost her husband to asbestos exposure is calling on his former colleagues to come forward with information about working conditions at the Rolls Royce Russell Street and Sinfin sites in Derby.

Following his National Service with the Royal Artillery, Harold Jennings was employed by Rolls Royce as a polisher and emery dresser for the firm from 1953 until 1992.

He initially worked at the Light Alloy Foundry on Russell Street and subsequently at the Precision Casting Facility (PCF) on Wilmore Road and was known as a particularly hard worker at the engine manufacturer.

Harold’s wife, Kathleen Jennings, said: “My husband never said much about his role or the conditions he worked in. He wasn’t the type of person to moan about anything and got on with his job. He had a reputation as a good worker and I am sure they gave him additional responsibilities because they could rely on him to get the job done properly.”

Towards the end of 2010, Harold began to become very breathless and his legs had become swollen. Eventually, after a night where he was unable to breathe properly, he made an emergency appointment at his GP’s surgery.

Kathleen added: “Harold hated to go to the doctors as he didn’t like to make a fuss. Despite the fact he was struggling to breathe, he refused to go until I persuaded him. They called an ambulance from the surgery as he really was in a bad way.”

Harold was diagnosed with fluid on his lungs which also contained Pleural Plaques, something often associated with exposure to Asbestos.

Kathleen and Harold subsequently moved in with their daughter Ann and her husband as Harold’s health was deteriorating and Kathleen was worried that she would not be able to manage on her own.

On the 10th May 2016 Harold suffered a fall due to his worsening condition and was admitted to hospital.

Sadly his health deteriorated rapidly and he passed away two days later aged 84.

Victim of asbestos exposure Harold Jennings

Now Kathleen is calling on former Rolls Royce employees to come forward with information about working conditions at the Russell Street and Sinfin sites in Derby, so that she can pursue a case with Your Legal Friend.

Kathleen added: “I have not been able to contact many of Harold’s old work colleagues because a lot of them sadly are no longer with us. We know asbestos was used a lot at Rolls-Royce as there are people who have died as a result of conditions related to the material who worked in the same factory.

“We’d been married for over 60 years, I miss him every day and the business needs to be held accountable for this. Harold was a hard worker and a proud man, he didn’t deserve what happened to him.”

Kathleen is being represented by Joanne Candlish who has over 25 years’ experience and is a senior litigator member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. She specialises in mesothelioma and asbestos related lung cancer claims and has represented clients in several high-profile cases.

Joanne Candlish, Solicitor and Department Manager for Asbestos at Your Legal Friend said: “Both Harold and Kathleen have suffered because of negligence by a large organisation that put profits before the welfare of their staff.

“The dangers of exposure to asbestos were well-known at the time and more should have been done to protect employees. Around 5,000 people in the UK now die needlessly each year because of the hazardous working conditions they were in. It’s a national scandal.

“We’d be grateful if members of staff who worked at the Russell Street or Sinfin sites in Derby between 1953 and 1992 would contact us with any relevant information. They may be able to help with the case and help secure some form of justice for Kathleen and Harold’s family.”

Anyone who believes they can provide useful information can contact Joanne Candlish on 0800 170 1006.