Muswell Hill mother dying from “asbestos disease” caused by hugging her father as a child

Patsy Holland (left) on his wedding day with his best man, footballer Dennis Sorrell who played for

Patsy Holland (left) on his wedding day with his best man, footballer Dennis Sorrell who played for Orient. Picture source: Holland family - Credit: Holland family

A Muswell Hill woman is living on borrowed time after being diagnosed with the deadly mesothelioma “asbestos disease” caused by hugging her dad as a toddler when he came home each night from working in the docks in the 1960s.

Wendy Holland would jump up and greet her dad as a toddler when he returned from the Millwall and the Royal Docks in east London unloading deadly asbestos cargoes.

Lawyers this week are trying to trace employers for compensation to pay for desperate treatment for Wendy, now aged 51, and are appealing for anyone who remembers working with her father Patsy.

“I’m determined to fight this horrible disease and go about my life as much as possible,” the mother-of-three says.

“But a sunny day is never sunny with mesothelioma hanging over us. I get terrible pain days after treatment, but will continue for as long as it works.”

She is using up her life savings for immunotherapy treatment to keep the cancer at bay.

“I was a baby when I jumped up to greet my father,” Wendy explains. “It’s devastating knowing that our lives have been turned upside down by the natural affection between a parent and child.”

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Her dad, sometimes known as ‘Paddy’ or ‘Roadrunner’, always picked up his little girl the minute he came home and carried her on his shoulders — with the deadly asbestos dust still on his clothes and his bushy hair.

Her solicitor Peter Williams, from Fieldfisher law firm, is appealing to anyone who remembers Patsy Holland around 1965 to pursue compensation for Wendy.

He said: “I was shocked when I heard Wendy’s age. This is a case of men working hard for their families unknowingly sentencing them to a terrible future.”

Unloading asbestos was “a good earner” and most dockers believed employers’ statements back then that it was ‘safe’— until it was banned by the unions.

Patsy retired from the docks in the 1970s to run a pub in Ilford. He died in 1993 in his early 50s.

Wendy was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2016 and given less than two years to live. She is now on “borrowed time”.

The lawyers at Fieldfisher are asking anyone who worked with Patsy Holland unloading asbestos around 1965 to contact Peter Williams on 020-7861 4825, or email