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Family of Whitstable mum Lisa Goldsworthy launch asbestos probe after her cancer death aged 49

The family of a beloved mum and teacher who died of asbestos-related cancer at just 49 are investigating where she developed the illness.

Lisa Goldsworthy, from Whitstable, tragically died in March 2019, from mesothelioma - a terminal form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

Lisa Goldsworthy
Lisa Goldsworthy

At an inquest into her death in 2019, coroner James Dillon concluded she had been "exposed to asbestos in an office environment during her working life."

Her family are now looking at where she contracted the devastating illness, with their investigations focusing upon Kleinwort Benson - a former London bank at which Lisa worked between 1995 and 2003.

The mum-of-two had spent about four years at the bank's Fenchurch Street base before the site was demolished, and replaced with the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building.

It was Lisa's belief that she was exposed to asbestos during renovation works carried out at the now-demolished premises in 1996.

Her family have now instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate where she was exposed to the hazardous material.

Lisa with her son, WIlliam Goldsworthy
Lisa with her son, WIlliam Goldsworthy

They are appealing for help from former employees of Kleinwort Benson, and are keen to hear from anyone who was based there during the renovation works.

The inquest into Lisa's death was read a statement in which she described the building works that were carried out "for months" while she and her colleagues continued to do their jobs.

“There was a lot of renovation going on around us," she said. "The work included the removal of partitions in the building.

“We were not moved into a different premises. We came into work most days with a layer of dust on our tables and telephones."

Lisa, known as Lisa Sampson during her time at the bank, said she and her colleagues would use their hands or cloths to wipe away the layer of debris that coated the office.

“The works I saw certainly involved asbestos,” she said. “I was alerted to the extensive use of asbestos from an associate who informed me the works removed thousands of tonnes of asbestos from the building. It was this work which I consider to be the most likely source of asbestos contamination, and the source of my mesothelioma.”

Lisa and her daughter, Pippa Goldsworthy
Lisa and her daughter, Pippa Goldsworthy

Lisa - whose son William and daughter Pippa are now aged 23 and 21 - had joined Kleinwort Benson in 1995 as a secretary.

She was mainly based on the 20th floor in the corporate finance department, but her role would also see her cover other departments on different floors.

In 2000 she joined the bank’s credit risk team and was based at Riverbank House until she left the firm in 2003 and trained to become a teacher.

The original building was demolished in 2008 and replaced with the new structure. Before demolition of the previous building it was reported that asbestos had been found and had to be removed from the site.

Lisa started experiencing chest pains and wheeziness in June 2017. Following tests, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Her mum, Jackie Sampson recalled: “Lisa started feeling unwell but just thought it was probably down to working too hard. Obviously it goes without saying that her diagnosis came as a massive shock to everyone. It was the last thing she expected.

Lisa Goldsworthy with her children, William and Pippa
Lisa Goldsworthy with her children, William and Pippa

“She tried to remain as upbeat and as strong as possible but it got to the stage where the cancer took over.

"Losing her in the way we did was incredibly difficult and there’s not a day goes by where we don’t miss her.

“That she’s not here to see the children grow up and celebrate milestones in life such as them starting work or getting married is the hardest thing. She would be so proud of them."

An inquest in 2019 concluded that on the balance of probabilities, Lisa died of industrial disease, with assistant coroner James Dillon saying she “had been exposed to asbestos in an office environment during her working life.”

Ian Bailey, the Partner and an asbestos-related disease expert at Irwin Mitchell representing Lisa’s family, added: “Sadly through our work we see the devastating effects that exposure to asbestos can have on families.

Lisa Goldsworthy
Lisa Goldsworthy

“Lisa’s death from mesothelioma at such a young age is a stark reminder of how dangerous the material is and how its unwanted legacy is still felt by families.

“Lisa was so loved by her family and friends. Understandably they are still devastated by her death and have many unanswered questions.

“We know that the old building had a huge amount of asbestos removed on more than one occasion.

"If anyone who worked on Kleinwort Benson recalls the renovations in the 1990s, I would ask them to come forward to help us to piece together what happened at that time. Even the smallest piece of information could make all the difference for Lisa’s family.”

Jackie added: “We know nothing can ever make up for Lisa’s death but I would ask anyone who can remember Lisa working at the office and the work being undertaken in 1996 to come forward and help.

“It could make all the difference to honouring Lisa’s memory and answering the concerns we have.”

Anyone with information should contact Ian Bailey at Irwin Mitchell on 0207 421 4754 or email ian.bailey@irwinmitchell.com.

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