Jeanette wants answers to mum’s asbestos cancer death

Maureen Howlett and daughter Jeanette Hodkinson (s)
Maureen Howlett and daughter Jeanette Hodkinson (s)
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The devastated daughter of a Colne woman is appealing for former work colleagues of her mother to come forward to help an investigation into how she was exposed to the asbestos dust and fibres which caused her death.

Maureen Howlett, formerly Maureen Dunn, was just 70 when she died from mesothelioma in December, just a week after she was told she had cancer.

We are looking to her former colleagues for information on how she was exposed to the dust and fibres

Daughter Jeanette Hodkinson

Even at that stage she was unaware of the fact the cancer was mesothelioma, an aggressive and incurable disease caused by exposure to asbestos decades before symptoms begin to show.

Her daughter Jeanette Hodkinson (52) said: “My mum had been ill since May but it was only a few days before her death that the doctors found out she had developed mesothelioma. It was terrible to watch her struggle on and not to know what was making her so unwell.”

Jeanette had instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the circumstances in which her mother was exposed to asbestos.

She told her legal team her mother worked as a weaver for the Stonebridge Cotton Manufacturing Company at the Broughton Mill between 1961 and 1962 and then again between 1964 and 1967, before moving on to be employed by the GPO in the telephone exchange in Colne between 1967 and 1970.

Jeanette believes her mother was exposed to asbestos in one of these jobs.

“She was extremely ill and suffered horrific pains and breathlessness, which really affected her later life,” said her daughter. “We are looking to her former colleagues for information on how she was exposed to the dust and fibres and what measures, if any, were taken to protect her and her colleagues from the dangers posed by the material.

“We would urge anyone with details on the Stonebridge Cotton Manufacturing Company’s Broughton Mill or the Telephone Exchange in Colne to come forward and help us find the answers we need.”

Mark Aldridge, a lawyer specialising in asbestos-related disease claims at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Mesothelioma causes untold misery for its victims, like Maureen, as well as their families and is responsible for the deaths of more than 2,500 people in the UK every year.

“It is an unusual condition in that symptoms may not become apparent until 40 or 50 years after the exposure takes place and those affected were often not warned of the risks posed by asbestos and can’t recall the exact details of their exposure.

“We are hoping this appeal will strike a chord with former work colleagues of Maureen and they will come forward and provide whatever information they can.”

Anybody with any information should contact Mark Aldridge at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors on 0113 394 6757 or at