Grieving family needs memories of former workers from Manchester vehicle parts manufacturer

Posted: 2nd Jun 21 10:00 AM

The family of a Failsworth man killed by an asbestos-related lung cancer needs the memories of Manchester’s former employees from the vehicle brake manufacturer, Don International Ltd also known as Mintex Don.

An inquest by the City of Manchester Coroner on February 17 of this year found that the death of 71-year-old Edward Kopec on August 23, 2020, was caused by malignant mesothelioma due to industrial disease.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and terminal lung cancer caused by breathing in asbestos dust and fibres. It is believed that Edward Kopec was exposed to the deadly material while working for Don International Ltd (or Mintex Don) in mid-1980s. The factory was based in Hendham Vale in the Harpurhey area, and it was formerly the Small and Parkes factory. Edward was known as Eddie to his colleagues and lived in Failsworth. His job was to test brake and friction linings, which at the time still contained asbestos.

The use of asbestos was not banned in the UK until 2000. It was used extensively throughout manufacturing and construction for its fireproof and insulating properties.

With the help of the National Asbestos Helpline and Birchall Blackburn Law, Eddie’s family are making an industrial disease compensation claim. To be able to do so the family needs the help of anyone who can remember the use and presence of asbestos at Don International Ltd during the 1980s.

Helen Bradley, a specialist asbestos disease solicitor with Birchall Blackburn Law in Manchester, says: “For a family to lose their father to this terrible cancer is devastating and unjust. Mesothelioma can take up to 50 years to develop and after such a long time it can be difficult to gain the evidence needed to prove where and when exposure to asbestos dust occurred, which is why we need the help of Eddie’s former colleagues at Don International Ltd or Mintex Don in Manchester.”

“Do you remember Eddie Kopec? Can you remember working alongside Eddie? Are you aware of anyone who worked for Don International Ltd? In particular we are seeking details from anyone who may be able to give information in respect of the job of Technical Assistant in the Research Department in the Manchester plant. Can you talk about the presence of asbestos? What were the working conditions like? Your details will remain confidential.”

Eddie was admitted to Fairfield Hospital on June 2 with fatigue, weakness, and breathlessness. After scans and tests, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma on June 4. He died less than three months later.

If you have any memories of working in the vehicle brake manufacturing plant for Don International Ltd during the 1980s, please call Helen Bradley at Birchall Blackburn Law on Freephone 0161 238 5637 or 07981 882 972. Alternatively, email enquiries@birchallblackburn.co.uk. Your details will remain confidential.