Fears teacher was killed by mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure during career

The wife of a former teacher fears he may have been exposed to asbestos during his time as a science teacher. David Clegg, 58, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, terminal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, just one week before his death.

Mr Clegg worked for Pollard Bearings at Ferrybridge for eight weeks during a summer break from Warwick University, where he was studying to become a teacher in the 1970s.

His family fear he could also have been exposed to asbestos during his time at Goole Grammar School, now Goole Academy, between 1979 and 1980, or at Featherstone High School, where he worked until 2000.

Now, his wife Susan, 59, is appealing to former school staff or those who worked alongside her husband during his career to help her find out how he may have been exposed to the harmful substance. Mrs Clegg, 59, said:

“David and I were shocked and devastated by the diagnosis. We had no time to come to terms with it. We had made plans for our retirement together and now I am facing that future alone.

I really hope that David’s former work colleagues and employees of Pollard Bearings, Goole Grammar School and Featherstone High School will now give any information about the conditions that David worked in so that my family and I can get some answers.”

David had been diagnosed with kidney disease and was receiving dialysis but managed his condition well.

However, he started to suffer chest problems last year. His GP ordered further tests and he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, dying at home in West Yorkshire a week later.

His wife has instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where he came into contact with the substance and if more should have been done to protect him and others. Industrial diseases lawyer Ian Toft said:

“Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer that causes so much distress for people like Susan and her family.

The disease took David’s life within only one week of his diagnosis. We hope former colleagues of David’s during his short time at Pollard Bearings, at Goole Grammar School and at Featherstone High School will come forward to help us with our investigations.”

During his time at Pollard Bearings in the 1970s, David was employed to scrape down the inside of the furnaces during the summer shutdown period.

Before his death, he said he had used a long-handled tool to scrape out a fibrous material, which he believed to have been asbestos.