Hull Widow Asbestos Cancer Pleas After Washing Husband’s Overalls

Details Sought On Working Conditions In Caravan Industry Ahead Of Action Mesothelioma Day

A Hull widow diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer is appealing to her late husband’s former colleagues for help in establishing whether her illness was caused by washing his work overalls.

Maisie Dockerty, 71, went to see her GP in September 2018 complaining of chest pain.  She underwent a series of tests and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November the same year. 

A cancer of the lining of the lungs, mesothelioma is most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos decades previously.

Following her diagnosis, Maisie, of Hull, instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at national firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate her illness and establish whether it was linked to her husband bringing home asbestos dust on his work clothes.

As part of the ongoing investigation, the legal experts are now seeking more information on the conditions Maisie’s husband David would have faced while working for Atlas Holiday Homes Limited, formerly Atlas Caravan Co Limited.

The appeal coincides with Action Mesothelioma Day, which is being held on 3 July.

Expert Opinion

“Maisie was understandably shocked and devastated when she found out she had mesothelioma and is still trying to come to terms with what it means for her.

Through our work, we often come across people whose lives are affected by asbestos-related diseases. However Maisie’s case is unlike many others as her exposure is thought to have taken place when she washed her husband’s clothes.

Sadly, David is no longer here to help with the investigation so we are keen to hear from anyone who may have worked with him at Atlas and can shed some light on the conditions he faced. Any piece of information, no matter how big or small, could prove vital in our efforts to determine how Maisie was exposed to the asbestos which led to her illness.”

Ian Toft – Partner

David worked in the static caravan construction industry as a ‘tinner’, which is described as a caravan builder that works in the finishing department.  He was employed by Hull-based Atlas between 1984 and 2008.

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Maisie told her legal team she remembered David mentioning to her in the 1990s that a number of his former work colleagues were dying or developing asbestos-related diseases, and that he had worked with the substance in the past.

Maisie recalled: “David used to have two sets of work clothes which he would change halfway through each week, and I would wash his clothes at least once a week.

“I would take his clothes out from the wash basket and shake them out.  I remember they were always dirty and dusty.  The dirt and dust would come off his clothes into the air.

“After I put the clothes into the tub to wash, I would then sweep the floor which would again bring the dust up into the air.”

Former factory worker Maisie and David were married in 1967.  Sadly, David passed away in 2014 at the age of 65.

In September 2018, Maisie began to experience pain on the right side of her chest.  She went to see her GP who referred her for an x-ray, where fluid was found on her lungs.

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She was referred for an ultrasound scan around two weeks later, which was followed up with blood tests, a further x-ray and a CT scan.

Maisie underwent a biopsy in November 2018, which confirmed she had mesothelioma.

She said: “Since the diagnosis, I struggle a lot with fatigue and have a poor appetite.  I don’t do much exercise and go to bed quite early.

“It was devastating to lose David, and then to find out that I had developed mesothelioma was incredibly difficult to accept.  It is made harder by the fact that I still hold so many questions as to how this happened.

“I would be so grateful if anyone that worked with David could come forward with any information that may help.”

Maisie is making the appeal ahead of Action Mesothelioma Day on 3 July, which is held annually to raise awareness of this incurable disease, remember those affected by it and help fund research into finding a cure.

Anyone with information that may assist with this case is asked to contact Annie Chawla at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds on 01133 946831 or by e-mail at

Find out more on Irwin Mitchell’s expertise in handling asbestos-related disease cases

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