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Asbestos Fibre

Appeal: former Cambridge academic is diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer

Lawyer appeals for Cambridge University students and staff to get in touch after former academic is diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer

Posted on 26 April 2018

Hundreds of Cambridge students and staff may have been put at risk of exposure to asbestos according to lawyers acting on behalf of a former Cambridge academic now fighting the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma.

Dr Michael Anyadike-Danes, a Senior Research Fellow with Aston University in Birmingham, was employed as a researcher at Cambridge University between 1980-1982 and 1985-1989. During this time he alleges he was exposed to asbestos in the Austin Robinson building, which is on the Sidgwick Site and which housed the Faculty of Economics.

Steven Dickens, a specialist industrial disease lawyer from law firm Leigh Day, who is acting on behalf of Dr Anyadike-Danes, has appealed to anyone who may have worked or studied in the Austin Robinson building at the same time to contact him. Mr Dickens said:

"Dr Anyadike-Danes worked in the Austin Robinson building, along with a large number of other staff and students, throughout the 1980s.?? We believe that the deteriorating asbestos, which was used to insulate pipes in the building, could be the source of his mesothelioma.

"I am now trying to trace anyone who may have regularly used the Austin Robinson building during the 1980s.?? We know many students and staff were based there and it is those people I would really like to speak to as witnesses to the condition of the building during this time.

Dr Anyadike-Danes (66) was employed in the Department of Applied Economics in Cambridge and throughout his employment he worked from the Austin Robinson building on the Sidgwick Site, which is located on Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge.

Dr Anyadike-Danes believes his exposure to asbestos came from a corridor on the lower ground floor of the building that was accessed from a staircase close to the entrance to the Marshall Library.??

The area was used as access for post-graduate study areas and the computer laboratory.?? Dr Anyadike-Danes used to pass through the corridor on a daily basis as he accessed the computer facilities, which were located on the opposite side of the building from his office.

This lower ground floor corridor is described as being around 25 metres in length with a low ceiling and exposed pipework.

Dr Anyadike-Danes, who currently lives in Belfast, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June last year. He is a married father with three grown-up children.

Speaking following his diagnosis, Dr Anyadike-Danes, said:

"This came as a devastating blow to me and my family as I have always been in good health and hoped to continue working for a numbers of further years.

"I am doing everything I can to try and keep this disease at bay while I continue to enjoy time with my family and contribute to the ongoing work of Aston University. I believe my recollection of the university, and in particular the lower ground floor corridor under the Marshall Library, is accurate but I understand that my case would be significantly helped by further evidence from the many students and staff that used the building at the time.

"I would ask those same people to cast their mind back and please contact my solicitor at law firm Leigh Day if they believe they can help."

Steven Dickens said the consequences of a mesothelioma diagnosis are extremely difficult for the individual, their family and friends.

"Mesothelioma is a deadly disease and it is very distressing for the sufferer and their family. We believe Dr Anyadike-Danes was exposed to asbestos during his working life in Cambridge and any information will be treated in the strictest confidence."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Steven Dickens via: sdickens@leighday.co.uk or by phone on: 0161 393 3574.