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Family appeal for help with investigation into asbestos exposure

The family of Lilian Ridley, formerly of Chingford, are appealing for help following her death from mesothelioma earlier this month.

The only known cause of this disease is exposure to asbestos, and Lilian’s exposure to this deadly substance came from washing her late husband Frank’s work overalls.

Lilian’s family are now seeking to track down any former work colleagues of her late husband, Frank Edwin Riley, who was exposed to levels of toxic dust while working at Brimsdown Power Station in Enfield between 1958 and 1980.

Frank worked as a boiler house engineer for the British Electricity Authority, which became the Central Electricity Authority, and then the Central Electricity Generating Board. Frank worked at Brimsdown Power Station, before moving on to West Ham Power Station in Canning Town, and then Brunswick Wharf Power Station near Blackwall until he retired in 1983.

He was exposed to asbestos from the lagging work that was more or less continuously carried out to the extensive pipework in the power stations and died in 2011.

Frank’s widow Lilian had been having problems with breathlessness, finding it increasingly harder to walk. When she went to her doctor the outcome was devastating. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July this year. The disease can be very fast-acting and Lilian died less than two months later on the 9 September.

Lilian had instructed expert industrial disease lawyers to investigate how her late husband Frank was exposed to asbestos dust, and to find out if more could have been done by his former employers to protect him from the lethal substance.

Andrew James, industrial disease specialist at Hodge Jones & Allen law firm, is representing Lilian’s family.

Andrew says: “Cases involving wives or daughters who washed workers’ clothing are becoming increasingly more common. Lilian died because her late husband’s employer exposed him to asbestos at work and failed to protect him and his family from this deadly dust. Clearly, this should not have happened.

“The dangers of asbestos were well-known to Mr Ridley’s employers during the years of his employment. The courts have previously held that employers should have been aware of the dangers to family members caused by workers bringing home asbestos dust on clothing since 1965 at the earliest.”

Lilian’s family has asked that if anyone has information that may help, could they please contact Andrew James at Hodge Jones & Allen on: 020 7874 8458 or email


Notes for Editors

Hodge Jones and Allen

  • Hodge Jones and Allen is one of the UK’s most progressive law firms, renowned for doing things differently and fighting injustice.
  • For almost 40 years’ the firm has been at the centre of many of the UK’s landmark legal cases that have changed the lives and rights of many people.
  • The firm’s team of specialists have been operating across: Personal Injury, Medical Negligence, Industrial Disease, Civil Liberties, Criminal Defence, Court of Protection, Dispute Resolution, Employment, Family Law, Military Claims, Serious Fraud, Social Housing, Wills & Probate and Property Disputes.
  • Co-founder Patrick Allen is still at the helm of the firm he co-founded in 1977.
  • In 2016 the firm launched Hearing their voices – a campaign to raise awareness and build conversations around the issues and the injustices we might all face.