Family's desperate search for answers after death of bricklayer

Kenny Leggett, who died of mesothelioma 

Kenny Leggett, who died of mesothelioma - Credit: Irwin Mitchell

The heartbroken family of a bricklayer who died from asbestos-related cancer have launched a search for answers over how he was exposed to it.

Kenny Leggett, from Gorleston, died in July 2021, just five weeks after learning he had developed mesothelioma, a form of cancer related to asbestos exposure. He was 81.

Now, his distraught widow Beryl has vowed to find out just how he came about the substance and whether it was linked with his work as a bricklayer.

Kenny Leggett, pictured in 1960

Kenny Leggett, pictured in 1960 - Credit: Irwin Mitchell

Mr Leggett began as an apprentice bricklayer with RG Carter Ltd in 1955 and continued to work for the first for the next 28 years.

His job saw him work as a builder and bricklayer in a wide range of locations, from universities to food factories, and prior to his death told his lawyers he remembered being exposed to asbestos dust at different points in his profession.

Now, working alongside legal firm Irwin Mitchell, his family have appealed for any of his former colleagues to get in touch and help them better understand how he may have contracted his illness.

Kenny Leggett, pictured working with RC Carter colleagues in 1955

Kenny Leggett, pictured working with RC Carter colleagues in 1955 - Credit: Irwin Mitchell

His wife of 61 years said: "It has been less than a year since I lost Kenny and it is still so painful to accept he is no longer here. 

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"He was such a loving husband and dad and we all miss him so much.

“After he was diagnosed, he went downhill so quickly and it was awful to see.  He lost interest in everything, was very breathless and uncomfortable. By the end, he couldn’t eat, drink or speak and it was heart-breaking for us all, knowing there was nothing we could do to help him

“During his time as a bricklayer, I remember Kenny saying that he believed he had been in contact with asbestos, particularly during his time working in old factories. 

"Before he died, he had begun looking into whether this could have led to his illness. 

Kenny Leggett, pictured working with RC Carter colleagues in 1960

Kenny Leggett, pictured working with RC Carter colleagues in 1960 - Credit: Irwin Mitchell

"While I can’t turn back the clock and change what he went through, I want to honour his memory by getting the answers he wanted.

“It’s the least he deserves, so I would be grateful if anyone could help.”

The cancer was discovered after Mr Leggett had a hernia operation in March 2021, when routine scans uncovered fluid on his lung.

Further tests were carried out and on June 23, 2021 he received his diagnosis.

His condition then began to deteriorate and he began to suffer from confusion, inability to eat or drink and struggled to communicate.

This made it increasingly difficult for him to continue researching asbestos-related illnesses - something he had long done.

Kenny Leggett, pictured working with RC Carter colleagues in 1978

Kenny Leggett, pictured working with RC Carter colleagues in 1978 - Credit: Irwin Mitchell

He enlisted the help of Irwin Mitchell, a legal firm which investigates industrial injuries to support him in this research and this work is continuing after his death.

Natalia Rushworth-White, the specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said: “The past few months have been incredibly difficult for Kenny’s loved ones, who are understandably struggling to come to terms with losing him so soon after his diagnosis.

“Sadly, Kenny died shortly after his diagnosis, leaving Beryl and their children to continue his efforts to get to the truth as to how he was exposed to asbestos. 

“Therefore, the family would be grateful if anyone who remembers working with Kenny could come forward with information that could help with our investigation.

“While nothing will make up for their loss, any detail could prove vital in providing Kenny’s family with the answers they deserve.”

Mr Leggett left three daughters, Kim, Julie and Lee, aged 59, 57 and 51 respectively.

Anyone with information that could assist with this case is asked to contact Natalia Rushworth-White on 01223 791893 or by e-mail at Natalia.Rushworth-White@IrwinMitchell.com.