Legal action after asbestos death

Neil McKenna during his time working at Ravenscraig with a young John and Leonora
Neil McKenna during his time working at Ravenscraig with a young John and Leonora

The children of a Craigneuk engineer are taking legal action after their father died of a disease linked with being exposed to asbestos.

Former Ravenscraig worker Neil McKenna died in December 2013 aged 90 after a short battle with mesothelioma.

Now his children, John (57) and Leonora (60) have instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell Scotland to investigate how he was exposed to the deadly dust and fibres that caused his death.

The family’s legal team at Irwin Mitchell Scotland would like to hear from anyone who worked at Yarrows from 1939-47, and Ravenscraig in the 1960s, in particular retired engineers who worked alongside Neil at these companies.

John and Leonora believe their father worked with asbestos paste, also known as monkey dung paste, which would be mixed on site and led to dust and fibres being released into the working atmosphere.

Laura McCallum, an expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell Scotland in Glasgow, said: “In our work we regularly see the devastating impact asbestos exposure can have on workers, often decades after they inhaled the substance, and the lack of safety measures and warning in place for those working with the material on a day-to-day basis.

“We believe that Neil was exposed to asbestos via lagging on pipes and boilers, as the material was often broken up and disturbed when work and repairs were being carried out.

“We also believe Neil worked with asbestos paste and we would like to hear from any former employees of Yarrows Shipbuilders and Ravenscraig Steel Works who can provide further information on Neil’s exposure to asbestos.

“We would also like to hear about the working conditions at both companies and the protective equipment provided to protect workers from exposure to the deadly substance, or if they were warned about the dangers of asbestos by their employers.”

John added: “Myself and Leonora were absolutely heartbroken to see Dad suffer in the way he did. We were even more angry to find out that the mesothelioma may have been caused by his exposure to asbestos during his working life.

“We are all devastated by the loss of Dad and are still struggling to come to terms with it. We hope that his former colleagues will be able to provide the information we need to see justice done in his name.

“Of course, no amount of money will replace the hole in our lives left when Dad died, but we feel those who failed to protect him from asbestos should be held accountable.”

Anyone with information should contact Laura McCallum at Irwin Mitchell Scotland on 0141 300 4083 or e-mail