Widow wants action after asbestos death of healthy dad

Dad Matt Wardle on a family holiday to Disneyland Paris with his two children, Harry and Rosie, in December 2015. Five months later, he was dead.
Dad Matt Wardle on a family holiday to Disneyland Paris with his two children, Harry and Rosie, in December 2015. Five months later, he was dead.

A young widow from Rainworth has made an emotional plea for action after her husband died, aged just 41, of asbestos-related cancer.

Pauline Wardle, 39, is struggling to comprehend why the seemingly healthy dad-of-two Matt passed away last summer, only three months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Lawyers who are industrial-disease experts working for the solicitors’ firm, Irwin Mitchell, have been instructed to investigate.

Matt and Pauline Wardle on their wedding day. Now she is calling for a national risk-register for asbestos after his shock death.

Matt and Pauline Wardle on their wedding day. Now she is calling for a national risk-register for asbestos after his shock death.

In the meantime, she is calling for a national risk-register for asbestos to be set up so that employees know whether they are at risk of exposure to the deadly substance at work.

Pauline said: “Nothing can bring Matt back to me, but not only do I want answers as to how he came to be exposed to asbestos, I also hope the legacy of his death is that the lives of others can be saved.

“Matt was unknowingly exposed to asbestos somehow, whether at work or at school. That shouldn’t have happened. He should have been protected from the evil effects of asbestos. There should be a nationally held register of buildings where asbestos is present, so that the owners of those buildings can be held to account.

“Until he fell ill, Matt was the healthiest person I knew. It’s been over a year now since we said our goodbyes, but until I have answers and something is done to better protect people from asbestos dust, the grieving process is on hold.”

Matt Wardle in his younger days. He died, aged just 41, of asbestos-related cancer.

Matt Wardle in his younger days. He died, aged just 41, of asbestos-related cancer.

Matt began to feel ill when he and Pauline returned from a holiday in Disneyland, Paris at the end of 2015 with their two children, Harry, who was then nine, and Rosie, who was then six. He complained of pain in the right side of his chest and after developing a cough, he was admitted to King’s Mill Hospital in February 2016 for tests. His illness was later diagnosed as terminal cancer of the lining of the lungs, and after his health had declined rapidly, he died at John Eastwood Hospice in Sutton on June 1.

A technical author, Matt went to school at Heathlands Primary in Rainworth, Berry Hill Middle School in Mansfield and Sherwood Hall School in Mansfield. He held office jobs for most of his life, apart from work at a Co-op supermarket in 1994 and 1995 and a four-month stint on the production line at Carnaud Metal Box, a tin manufacturing company based at Rock Valley, Mansfield, in 1995.

While at Carnaud Metal Box, he worked on a building, described as an iconic clock-tower and a well-known Mansfield landmark, which was demolished in 2010. It is believed that asbestos might have been used in the braking systems of the firm’s conveyor belts. If Matt’s former colleagues have any information on working conditions there, they are asked to ring Adrian Budgen at Irwin Mitchell on 0114 2744371 or e-mail Adrian.Budgen@IrwinMitchell.com

PAULINE Wardle’s plea for answers coincides with Action Mesothelioma Day on Friday (July 7), which brings together victims of the killer disease, as well as support groups and healthcare professionals working to find a cure.

An aggressive and terminal form of cancer, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, often decades beforehand. More than 2,500 people in the UK die from the disease every year.

Adrian Budgen, the lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Pauline, said: “Asbestos was commonly used in industry and the building trade for many years. Tragically, employers did not implement safety measures and warnings to protect workers from inhaling the toxic substance. People are now also being exposed during refurbishments of older buildings.”