Information appeal after carpenter who worked in Brent and Camden dies from asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma

PUBLISHED: 13:43 11 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:50 11 August 2016

Allen Lavell worked as a joiner in Willesden and Camden Town

Allen Lavell worked as a joiner in Willesden and Camden Town


The family of a retired carpenter who died from a cancer associated with being exposed to asbestos are appealing for information about his working conditions from his former colleagues.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma develops in the lining that covers the outer surface of some of the body’s organs mainly the lungs.

It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, a group of minerals made of microscopic fibres that used to be widely used in construction.

It usually develops more than 20 years after a person has had open contact with asbestos.

Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 60-80 and men are affected more commonly than women.

It’s rarely possible to cure mesothelioma, although treatment can help control the symptoms, and the outlook is poor.

There are currently around 2,500 deaths from mesothelioma each year in the UK.

(Source: NHS)

Allen Lavell died from mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer, in March last year aged 78 – nine months after he was diagnosed with the terminal illness.

Before he died he told his family that in the mid 1950s he made doors which were filled with asbestos to make them fireproof, but feared he may have been exposed to the lethal material throughout his working life.

Mr Lavell had worked as a carpenter and joiner at T H W Hearle in Camden Town between 1952 and 1957, Hickmans in Brent from 1959 to1962 and Heaton Tabbs & Co in Willesden from 1962 to 1964.

He also did some self-employed work during this time.

Allen Lavell has died from mesothelioma last year Allen Lavell has died from mesothelioma last year

Mr Lavell’s widow and two children are trying to trace his former colleagues in the hope that they can provide information about his working conditions to help them establish whether he was exposed to asbestos.

Mr Lavell’s son, John, said: “We were in total shock when we heard about dad’s illness. To hear that he could have contracted it from being exposed to asbestos over 50 years ago left us flabbergasted, it was the last thing we were expecting.

“We never knew too much about dad’s work other than he was a carpenter and joiner, but once we found out he had mesothelioma, he told us about how he may have been exposed to asbestos.

“We hope there are people out there that worked with dad who can help us to piece together how and where he might have come into contact with asbestos.”

Former colleagues who knew Allen Lavell can get in touch with law firm Hugh James by calling Hayley Hawkins on 0808 231 6604.

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