Asbestos battle is won after 43 years

Tragedy: D-Day vet Ken Hoggett.
Tragedy: D-Day vet Ken Hoggett.

A DONCASTER man who survived an industrial disaster died 43 years later because he was unprotected while cleaning up the aftermath.

Ken Hoggett worked at the Ferrybridge power station when three cooling towers - the tallest in the world - collapsed in 100mph winds in 1965.

Although nobody died, tragedy struck generations later as the grandfather succumbed to a rare industrial disease in 2008.

The scaffolder and former D-Day veteran had cleared up in clouds of dust at the site, inhaling deadly asbestos fibres which caused mesothelioma, an aggressive form of lung cancer.

Barely two weeks after diagnosis, Mr Hoggett - who had suffered breathing problems for years - was dead.

Now his family is speaking out to warn others about the dangers.

His daughter Sue Stoppard, 57, said: “I think if other people have got concerns like my dad had they shouldn’t suffer in silence - they should get themselves checked. We don’t know how many other people have yet to discover this.”

Ken was 85 when he died and his wife of 60 years, Ann, of Beckett Road, Wheatley, started legal action against her husband’s former employers - but she has since died.

Sue, and her sister, Kay Cowx, 63, continued the action and now the company Joseph Nadin Ltd has paid out damages of £49,000 to the family after admitting a breach of duty of care.

Rebecca Moore-Yelland, a personal injury lawyer from the Doncaster office of Shaw & Co, said finding the firm and proving that it employed men on site around the time of the collapse could be crucial in any further claims.

“The defendant was hard to track and identify given the lapse of time, but has now been firmly placed as an employer of men working at the power station in this era,” she said.

“The case also serves to illuminate the hazards of the industry at the time. It’s likely many men will have some asbestos-induced disease dormant, which will come to light in the coming years, if it has not already.”

Mrs Stoppard, who lives in Doncaster, said many workers like her father were told to help in the clear up.

“Everybody had to muck in and help, and they swept and cleaned everywhere. We were determined to settle it in dad’s memory - and for my mum because she wanted it as well.”