Family’s appeal after former Royal Victoria Dock worker dies from mesothelioma

Ronald and Judy Hawkins. Ronald died in 2018, a year after his cancer diagnosis. The family's lawyer

Ronald and Judy Hawkins. Ronald died in 2018, a year after his cancer diagnosis. The family's lawyers are now trying to learn more about Ron's work environment and where he could have come into contact with asbestos. Picture: Judy Hawkins. - Credit: Judy Hawkins

The widow of a man who died of a cancer often caused by asbestos is asking his former workmates to come forward.

The family’s lawyers want to know more about the conditions Ron Hawkins may have worked in to see if they caused his disease.

He was 67 when he died, a year after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type cancer affecting the lining of the lung. The condition is usually linked to asbestos exposure.

The lawyers are looking into his time at WM Cory in Royal Victoria Dock and Norbury, south-west London.

Ian Bailey, a partner at Irwin Mitchell, is representing Ron’s widow, Judy Hawkins, and said: “Ron was a much-loved husband, father and grandfather and his family remain understandably devastated by their loss.

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“They are desperate to understand just how he came to develop mesothelioma and we are now appealing for anyone who worked alongside Ron at these companies to come forward and shed light on any potential asbestos exposure he may have faced.

“Any piece of information – no matter how small – could ultimately prove vital to our efforts to help them gain answers and justice.”

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Ron joined WM Cory in 1967 after leaving school. He worked in the Docklands for over a decade before moving to the company’s premises in Norbury and then Russell Square in the 1980s.

The family’s lawyers are also interesting in hearing about Ron’s time working at ADT Fire & Security and Aon, in Hampshire.

Ron started complaining of breathlessness in May 2017 and went to his GP. He died in July 2018.

Judy met Ron in 1983.

“It was awful to see how quickly mesothelioma affected him, as prior to the illness he had been quite active and had been enjoying his retirement. His health really deteriorated at some pace,” she said.

“I still struggle with the fact that he is gone and am desperate for answers regarding the illness which led to his death. I would be grateful to anyone who could help.”

During Ron’s time at WM Cory he worked in various organisations, including Ocean Cory, Ocean Transport & Trading, Ocean Group, Exel, MSAS Global Logistics.

Anyone with information that could help with the case is urged to call Tessa Craythorne at Irwin Mitchell’s London office on 0207 421 3987 or email

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