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Appeal for witnesses from family of former Tyneside electrician following his asbestos-related death

The family of a man who worked as an electrician for Tyneside-based company Swan Hunter believe that his death from mesothelioma was linked to potential asbestos exposure while at the company, and are appealing for his former colleagues to come forward with information.

Posted on 10 November 2023

Keith Frater, of Whitley Bay, died aged 81 on 4 April 2021 having developed peritoneal mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
He began an apprenticeship as an electrician with Swan Hunter, Wigan and Richardson Limited at Wallsend on Tyne in 1955 and he completed his apprenticeship in 1960.

Keith Frater.

After working in a variety of jobs, Keith returned to Swan Hunter in 1965 as an electrician and eventually became a quality assurance manager before he left the firm through redundancy in 1983.
Keith was able to provide limited information about his asbestos exposure before his death, his son recalls anecdotes Keith would tell about handling asbestos while at Swan Hunter.
Keith was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in early 2021. As this was during the pandemic, Keith’s family were not able to visit him in hospital which caused them great distress.
Keith was transferred to a nursing home and he continued to decline rapidly. Having previously been healthy and active throughout his life, Keith lost his independence completely and found it very difficult to eat. In the last weeks of his life he was in severe pain and struggled to breathe.   
Keith died on 4 April 2021. 

It had been Keith’s wish for his family to pursue a legal claim after his death. They asked law firm Leigh Day to investigate Keith’s possible exposure to asbestos during his time at Swan Hunter.

Keith Frater.
Steven Dickens, partner in the Leigh Day asbestos claims team, said:
“Mesothelioma is a devastating disease, one which takes decades to develop after exposure to asbestos, and it caused Keith to suffer greatly towards the end of his life having previously been fit and healthy. Keith’s decline was so rapid that there was no opportunity for him to consult with solicitors following his diagnosis.
“We are particularly interested to speak to anybody who knew Keith and worked with him in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  We would like to speak to former colleagues who can tell us about what he did whilst he worked as an electrician for Swan Hunter.
“Any relevant information provided would be greatly appreciated by Keith’s family.”
Please contact Steven Dickens at sdickens@leighday.co.uk If you can provide any relevant information.

Steven Dickens
Asbestos and mesothelioma Industrial disease

Steven Dickens

Leading Manchester and North East mesothelioma claims lawyer

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