A GRANDMOTHER-of-five is appealing to her former colleagues for help after being diagnosed with asbestos cancer.

Isabel Caithness, who worked as a teaching assistant at a primary school in Tidworth, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in the summer.

The terminal cancer is associated with asbestos exposure, often decades before. Following her diagnosis, the 80-year-old grandmother instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her illness and if it could be linked to her work history.

Mrs Caithness, with the support of her legal team, is appealing for her former colleagues to come forward with information on the working conditions she faced.

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Andover Advertiser: Isabel CaithnessIsabel Caithness (Image: Contributed)

They are looking to trace anyone who worked alongside her during her time working at B&P Nicholson in Aldershot working for a clothing manufactuer from 1974 to 1975, at Cromwell School, in Osnabrück, Germany, from 1977 to 1981 and Clarendon Infant School in Tidworth from 1981 to 1983.

Nicola Handley, specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Isabel, her husband Thorfinn and the rest of her family are devastated by her diagnosis and what it means for the future.

“While many people associate asbestos with heavy industry its use was much more widespread. Public buildings such as schools, hospitals, offices, libraries, and leisure centres all contained the hazardous material.

“We’re now investigating how Isabel was exposed to asbestos and asking anyone who remembers Isabel or who worked in the places that she did to come forward with information about the conditions they worked under.

“This could be of huge help to Isabel and bring some closure that only answers can provide in what has been a terrible period in their lives.”

The grandmother of five and mother of two worked at Clarendon Infant School, in Ordnance Road, as a teacher’s aid with Wiltshire County Council.

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In 2022, Irwin Mitchell revealed that schools are the largest category of buildings still containing asbestos, making up nearly a quarter of the total number.

Mrs Caithness, who now lives in East Yorkshire, started to experience chest pain and severe breathlessness and was referred for numerous medical tests and hospital visits before she was diagnosed.

She said: “It’s horrible to see the way that the disease is progressing and I feel very helpless. I was enjoying my retirement with my family and spending time doing the things that I enjoy.

The diagnosis came as a huge shock and when doctors asked if I had ever encountered asbestos, I realised it could have been present in some of the buildings I’ve worked in.

“While nothing can change what I’m going through, getting the answers would mean a lot to me at this point. It would be great to hear from some of my former colleagues and I’d be so grateful.”

Anyone with information that could help Isabel is asked to contact Nicola Handley at Irwin Mitchell on 0113 220 6233 or by email at Nicola.Handley@irwinmitchell.com.