Help needed with asbestos mystery

November 11, 2022

A grandmother-of-three from Selby who was recently diagnosed with asbestos cancer, is appealing to her former colleagues to come forward with information to help establish how she fell ill.

Julie Wilson has mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs most commonly associated with asbestos exposure, often decades previously. Following her diagnosis in June this year, the 60-year-old instructed asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her illness and help determine whether her exposure took place at work. During Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Julie is now seeking information on the working conditions she faced while employed at Middlebrook Mushrooms and Rigid Paper Products (formerly John Rostron and Sons), which were both based in Selby.

Nicola Handley, the specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Julie, said: “Through our work we are instructed by many people whose lives have been devastated by asbestos many years after their exposure has occurred. “Our initial investigations often involved asking clients such as Julie to try and recall the conditions they worked in years ago, while they’re also attempting to come to terms with a distressing diagnosis. “Asbestos is located in many buildings, unbeknownst to the employees that work in them. While we can’t change what Julie is going through, we’re determined to help her obtain the answers she deserves. “We would therefore be grateful to hear from anyone who worked with her and can recall if they could have been exposed to asbestos during their time there. Any detail, no matter how small, could prove vital.”

Julie worked for Middlebrook Mushrooms in around 1979/1980 for a period of six months at the Brayton site and returned to the company to work at the Gatesforth site in 1990. She also worked for Rigid Paper Limited (formerly John Rostron and Sons Limited) between 1980 and 1987. Anyone who also worked at either of these companies during these time periods is asked to get in touch with the legal team investigating the case. Julie was diagnosed with cancer in June this year after falling ill in April and requiring one-and-a-half litres of fluid to be drained from her lungs. Since then she has undergone extensive treatment and is now hoping to find out what caused her illness. She said: “My diagnosis came so quickly and was a huge shock to me. The worst thing is that I can no longer care for my grandchildren like I used to as I become breathless and have been struggling physically. “I used to be very independent and enjoyed cooking and doing things around the house, but I don’t cook anymore as I have no appetite and tasks such as hoovering leave me really out of breath. “I try my best to remain positive and stay active with short walks and tending to the garden with my husband Ian. I’ve also invested in an exercise bike, and been keeping busy with crafting and knitting. “However, I can’t help but wonder how I fell ill in the first place and to think it might be my work came as another huge blow. I do remember some of the places being in bad repair and large amounts of dust in the air which is likely to have been asbestos. “While I can’t turn back the clock, I deserve some answers and would really appreciate it if anyone with information would get in touch.”

Anyone with information that may assist with this case is asked to contact Nicola Handley on 07711 345400 or 0113 220 6233, or by e-mail at

Selby woman, Julie Wilson is asking for former colleagues to come forward and help her understand if her recently diagnosed cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos in the work place. (10-11-104 SU)

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