Family seeks answers after dad’s death from asbestos-linked cancer

Grieving daughters hope their dad’s former colleagues may have the answers they need

Photos of Robert Beeson provided by his grieving daughters
Photos of Robert Beeson provided by his grieving daughters

The grieving children of a Waltham Forest man who died of cancer after suspected exposure to asbestos are desperately seeking answers from his former colleagues.

Robert Beeson, an ex-foreman who worked for Nico Construction and British Rail, died aged 82 last April after developing a form of lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure and deteriorating rapidly over a few months.

Robert worked for British Rail in Stratford from 1961 to 1974 and for Nico Construction in London from 1986 until 1992.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell, hired by Robert’s daughters, believe he encountered asbestos in one or  both of these jobs and are looking to speak to any of his former colleagues who can help.

His daughter Lorraine said: “Seeing dad deteriorate was a devastating experience for me and [my sister] Michelle. We did what we could for dad, despite the lockdown, but he was in good health prior to the start of symptoms and didn’t deserve to lose his life in this way.

“What makes his death harder to accept is the speed at which his condition deteriorated. Because of this we feel we were robbed of spending more precious time together as a family and didn’t get to say goodbye properly to Dad. 

“Dad didn’t have much time to tell us details about his work history, but he felt sure he encountered asbestos. If any of dad’s former workmates or people who worked at the same places could come forward and help us, it would mean a lot to me and my sister.

“It won’t bring Dad back but at least it will help us honour his memory by finding out the answers he deserved.”

Lacey St James, from Irwin Mitchell, added: “Robert’s death is another terrible reminder of the cruel legacy that asbestos has left behind. While nothing can bring him back, we’re determined to support Lorraine and Michelle as they seek the answers their dad wanted.

“If any of Robert’s former colleagues could come forward with information, it could make all the difference. Any detail, no matter how small, could prove vital to our investigation.”

Robert was born in the borough in 1938 and lost his wife Monica to cancer 18 years ago. In addition to his two daughters, he is survived by his grandchildren, Evie and Ellie.

Outside of his family, he was known as an expert in birds, who kept and bred them for most of his life and judged a number of bird shows around the country.  

Anyone with information that may assist with this case is asked to contact Lacey St James at Irwin Mitchell on 0203 040 3445 or email [email protected]