The family of Frederick Fatkin, a South Shields man who died last month from an industrial disease, are seeking some of his former work colleagues in the hope that they can help gather more information about what more could have been done to prevent his death.

Frederick worked at Robinson Brothers from May 1977 to January 1995. Within a year of being diagnosed with symptoms that included chest pains and breathlessness, he died aged 88 from Mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung associated most commonly with prolonged exposure to asbestos. Prior to this, Frederick had been a fit and independent man.

During its operation, Robinson Brothers was one of the largest manufacturers in the region, specialising in chemicals used in the pharmaceutical and automotive industries and supplying reputable companies such as Glaxco and Smith Kline.

As an engineer, Frederick was responsible for the construction of a new plant on a green field site in Cambois Industrial Estate, Blyth, Northumberland. Not long before his death, Frederick contacted Beecham Peacock to investigate the illness further and determine whether more should have been done to prevent it. It was also his hope that his former colleagues would look into the disease further to ensure their own health.

Vicki Wanless, our specialist in asbestos related diseases, commented “Through my work I have seen numerous examples of how exposure to asbestos has had devastating consequences for workers and their families in the North East.”

“Sadly Fred’s condition deteriorated very quickly and we therefore are very keen to speak to any former work colleagues to develop a clearer understanding of the working conditions at Robinson Brothers where he worked between 1977 and 1995.”

In his memory, his brother is pursuing this legal battle and our lawyers are appealing for anyone who worked with Frederick at Robinson Brothers to get in touch. If you worked with Frederick, or at Robinson Brothers between 1977 and 1995, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Vicki on 0191 245 4057 or email

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