Family of former Calderdale councillor win £300,000 case against Hebden Bridge asbestos factory

A Hebden Bridge man who wrote his own obituary before dying of cancer has secured a £300,000 settlement after being exposed to asbestos on his father’s work clothes.

By Ian Hirst
Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 11:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 11:56 am
Philip Round, a former journalist and town councillor,
Philip Round, a former journalist and town councillor,

Philip Round, a former journalist and town councillor, died of mesothelioma in 2018, aged 66, after coming into contact with asbestos dust years earlier on clothes hung out in his childhood kitchen.

Mr Round’s family are the latest of many people in and around Hebden Bridge to successfully gain compensation for asbestos-related illnesses.

His father Joseph died of a similar industrial disease, asbestosis in 1994, after he spent his working life at the now infamous Acre Mill asbestos product manufacturing factory near Hebden Bridge.

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Mr Round senior’s own claim for compensation was settled in the 1990s against the owner, Cape Asbestos.

Before his death, Mr Round began legal proceedings with lawyers who proved his exposure to the debilitating dust had been at his family home through after-work hugs with his dad or being around the washing.

His wife Judith continued Mr Round’s battle for compensation and was finally awarded a £300,000 settlement from Cape Acre Mill.

She said: “Philip suffered appallingly during his illness and nothing our excellent doctors did could take away his pain.

“He set about trying to build a case against Cape Asbestos, but in the end he was too ill to finish it off.

“Pauline Chandler of Slater and Gordon contacted me after Philip’s death and put together the claim to Cape Asbestos we needed to make on Philip’s behalf.

“I shall be eternally grateful for her perseverance. The award will not bring back my beloved husband and soulmate, but it does mean his death has not gone unrecognised and unpunished.”

Lawyer Ms Chandler has dealt with many cases relating to exposure to asbestos in Hebden Bridge throughout her career – but said she never imagined she would still be dealing with settlements relating to the stricken Acre Mill in 2020.

She said: “Hebden Bridge has been blighted by asbestos-related disease and death of almost epidemic proportions. Almost every family in that area was touched by it in the 20th Century.

“These sad cases were my introduction to asbestos compensation law – but I don’t think any lawyer dealing with similar cases still expected to be dealing with them in 2020.

“In this case both father and son were affected. Philip was never exposed to asbestos through working at Acre Mill, he simply suffered the same fate as his father Joe by being around the clothes his poor dad came home in every day, after a long shift.”

Mr Round served ten years on Hebden Royd Town Council, becoming their youngest ever Chairman in 1976, aged just 24.

He also served as a councillor on Calderdale Council for four years.

Having worked as a journalist at the Halifax Courier, he also worked in public relations and even played Pudsey Bear for the BBC’s Children in Need.

Married for 40 years, Mr and Mrs Round eventually decided to emigrate to Canada in 2004, where he once again worked as a journalist for a local paper.

Shortly before his death in July 2018, Mr Round wrote an obituary in the form of an autobiographical book A Life Well Lived.

He wrote: “I feel truly blessed to have lived a great life and while it would have been good to have another 10 or 15 years, I have no grounds for complaint. All lives have their ups and downs and mine has been no exception but in my case the ups have outweighed the downs many times over.

“Personally, professionally and even politically I have enjoyed it so much in large part thanks to the outstanding support of parents, family, friends, colleagues, and – for the past 40 years – my truly wonderful soulmate and wife Judith. She opened my eyes to the world and gave me more love than I ever deserved.”