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Redruth widow issues heartfelt appeal after husband's death

Redruth widow issues heartfelt appeal after husband's death

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:19am 13th July 2020.

A widow from Redruth has issued a heartfelt appeal following her husband's asbestos-related death.

Neal Rutty died in August 2017 of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs, just 15 months after being diagnosed.

The active 66-year-old granddad had worked as a painter and decorator for many years and started to suffer from back pains and respiratory problems.

Following the recession, his work was just starting to pick up again and he was working with his son, Nick, when he noticed his first symptoms of mesothelioma.

Now his wife Stephanie has joined with legal experts to try and find out how he became exposed to the deadly substance.

In the 1970s and 1980s Neal had worked primarily at schools across the region on behalf of Cornwall County Council, along with outside painting of Local Authority housing in Cornwall.  

He worked at the Devonport Dockyard Naval Base in Plymouth between 1983 and 1986 where he was responsible for painting and decorating the boiler rooms and the changing rooms.

It is during this time that his family think he may have been exposed to asbestos.

Neal Rutty - asbestos death Redruth
Neal Rutty

His widow Stephanie is now appealing for anyone who worked at the schools in Cornwall or the docks at Devonport during this time and who may have information to come forward. 

“This has been the toughest time for me and my children.  Our grand daughter, Emily, was a pupil at one of the schools Neal worked in during the 80s and she remembered seeing asbestos warning stickers during refurbishment of the science block at her school in Cornwall in 2018. 

“Of course, Neal was not given any such warnings, even though the dangers were known.  Neal was still so young when he died, still working, and had so much to look forward to. To watch his health deteriorate so rapidly was heart-breaking.

“It’s so sad to think that his death could have been prevented if he had been made aware of the asbestos and provided with protective equipment.”

Stephanie Rutty, Neal's wife

Neal sadly died at the Mount Edgecombe Hospice, Cornwall, on 16th August 2017, aged 66, where he spent his final eight days.

“Neal’s care, and the care and compassion that they showed to me at the hospice was truly outstanding and we’re grateful to the staff for everything they did during this difficult time.”

Stephanie Rutty, Neal's wife

Neal Rutty - asbestos death Redruth
Neal and Stephanie

Stephanie's lawyer, Helen Grady from Simpson Millar’s specialist industrial disease team, said:

“If you worked in any schools in Cornwall during this era, either as a teacher, or a contractor, or if you worked at the Dockyards in the 80s and came across asbestos, please do get in touch as you may be able to provide vital information.

“The family have so many questions about how and when Neal was exposed to asbestos, and whether more could have been done to protect him.

“While the dangers of asbestos have been known for many decades there are still, sadly, many people dying prematurely as a result of related illnesses such as mesothelioma, because they were not made aware of its presence and provided with protective equipment.

“We’re now appealing for anyone who might have information about the presence of asbestos in any school across Cornwall or at Devonport Dockyard to get in touch.”

Helen Grady, Simpson Millar's

If you have any information please contact Helen Grady at Simpson Millar via e-mail at helen.grady@simpsonmillar.co.uk, or on 0345 357 9600.

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