Grieving widow asks How did it happen?

The devastated widow of a man who died of an asbestos-related illness is asking people who may have worked with him to come forward.

Devoted father-of-two and grandfather-of-four Peter Duesbery was 72 when he died in April 2009 from malignant mesothelioma – a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

His family believe his health problems may have been caused by working as a maintenance engineer at Halifax General Hospital from 1965 to 1970 and St James’s Hospital, Leeds, from 1970 to 1975.

They believe steam and hot water pipes were lagged with asbestos which ran through ducts and the boiler room where Peter spent a lot of his time.

With the help of lawyers Irwin Mitchell, Mr Duesbury’s family are looking for anyone who can shed light on how he came into contact with the fibres.

His wife, Marlene said: “Peter’s mesothelioma was suspected, but not confirmed, before he died. To now know his work is what killed him is hard to bear. We are all devastated by his death and desperate to see justice done.

“When Peter became ill and went to see the doctor, he was asked whether he had been exposed to asbestos. Peter mentioned his time in the merchant navy and when he worked in hospital service ducts.”

Simone Hardy, an asbestos specialist at Irwin Mitchell who is representing the family, said: “Peter’s family are anxious to find any witnesses and I would urge anyone who has experiences to share about working for either hospital in the 1960s and 1970s to come forward as soon as possible.

“If anyone can remember working with Peter, and the type of tasks he used to carry out, please get in touch.

“Asbestos-related diseases have a devastating impact on so many lives and exposure to the material is widely regarded as the biggest occupational killer of all time.

“While it is sadly too late for Peter and so many others, we hope our work on gaining justice for the families of those negligently exposed to asbestos will help raise awareness of its devastating consequences and spare more people from heartache in the future.”

Anyone who can help is being asked to contact Simone Hardy on 0114 274 4212 or email