Widow's appeal after former Ferrybridge Power Station worker dies from asbestos-related illness

The widow of a former Ferrybridge Power Station employee is appealing for help after her husband died from an asbestos-related illness.

Monday, 22nd June 2020, 12:30 pm
Ferrybridge Power Station and, right, Kenneth Ryan receives a certificate.

Rita Ryan's husband Kenneth died last year at the age of 72. An experienced instrument mechanic, he worked at the Power Stations for more than 30 years.

A post mortem found that the cause of his death was pleural fibrosis, a severe lung disease that can be caused by breathing in asbestos dust and fibres.

And his widow is now seeking an industrial disease compensation claim on behalf of her husband, with the help of the National Asbestos Helpline.

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Mrs Ryan says: “It was well known in the later years that asbestos had been presents at the power stations and many people had been exposed. We knew of power station workers who had died from asbestos-related illnesses but it was still a shock to be told by the hospital consultant, after Ken’s death, that is was caused by asbestos.

“We never thought that Ken would just sit down and die. We have friends in their 80s – coming up to 87 – and they’re still active and we talked about having another 10 to 15 years together.

"He wasn’t a man who complained. He just got on with it. He struggled a bit with his breathing and winter chest infections over the past two or three years but it wasn’t until he had a ‘wellness check’ that it was really picked up.”

With the help of the National Asbestos Helpline, Mrs Ryan is now hoping to hear from any former employees who may have memories of asbestos at Ferrybridge.

The Helpline said they believed asbestos had been used to line pipes and walls throughout the buildings.

Jan Garvey, from the National Asbestos Helpline, says: “Pleural fibrosis takes decades to develop. After such a long time it can be difficult to uncover the evidence needed to prove where and when exposure to asbestos dust occurred. The family needs the memories of people who worked in the power stations.

“To help we need to hear from ex-employees from the Ferrybridge Power Stations. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s did you work at the Ferrybridge Power Stations? Can you remember working with Kenneth Ryan? What were the working condition like and can you talk about the presence of asbestos?”

Any former employees of the Ferrybridge Power Stations who have information about the working conditions and asbestos please call Jan Garvey at the National Asbestos Helpline on freephone 0800 043 6635. Alternatively, email [email protected] Your details will remain confidential.