Appeal after carpenter dies from asbestos-related cancer type

Francis Brown

Francis Brown died of mesothelioma, a form of aggressive cancer, possibly from working around asbestos in Stonebridge - Credit: Irwin Mitchell

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

Francis Brown, 85, from Hayes in Hillingdon, died from mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer, in March – two weeks after he was diagnosed with the terminal illness.

Francis Brown died within two weeks of getting a mesothelioma cancer diagnosis

Francis Brown died within two weeks of getting a mesothelioma cancer diagnosis - Credit: Irwin Mitchell

His daughter, Janice Griffin, 61, instructed asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate where her father’s asbestos exposure occurred following his death.

She is keen to trace anyone who remembers Francis from his time as a carpenter at Dexion Ltd, at Stonebridge Park from 1961 until 1978.

She also wants to hear from people with information about Southern Counties Storage Equipment, in Uxbridge, a firm fitting Dexion products, where Francis worked from 1978 until 1991.

Janice said: “To see dad decline so rapidly was devastating to watch. He had been fit and well until he started suffering from breathlessness. We were shocked to learn the problem was mesothelioma.

“If anyone who remembers dad from his time at Dexion or Southern Counties could come forward with information it could make all the difference to us.

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“Dad was a wonderful father and husband and didn’t deserve to have this disease cut his life short in such a horrible way.

“We know nothing can make up for what has happened but we want to honour dad’s memory by at least establishing answers on his behalf.”

Francis Brown

Carpenter Francis Brown was a keen footballer and golfer in his youth - Credit: Irwin Mitchell

Father-of-two Francis served a carpentry apprenticeship for six years in Pall Mall and start work at Dexion Ltd in 1961.

While at Dexion, a former workmate recalled the pair working on a new staircase in the firm’s offices at Stonebridge Park.

The man, who did not wish to be named, recalled the use of asbestos boards for the construction of the staircase, which Francis would cut to size in the workshop using a circular saw.

The process generated a lot of dust, and neither man had a mask or protective equipment, the man said.

Francis played football as a younger man, was a keen golfer. He also enjoyed watching and betting on greyhound racing.

Francis became breathlessness in December. He was admitted to Hillingdon hospital on February 28, where he was found to have two-and-a-half litres of fluid in his lungs.

He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on March 2 and died surrounded by his family on March 17.

Anyone who has information that could help the family should contact Paul Ramsay at Irwin Mitchell on 0203 0403 489 or email