York carriageworks’ asbestos death toll now at 141

Arnie “Tivvy” Gomersall

Mourners pay their respects Tivvy Gomersall's funeral

First published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

AT LEAST 140 former York carriageworks employees and their relatives have now been killed by the asbestos timebomb – and the death rate may be increasing, a campaigner has said.

Paul Cooper has spoken out in the wake of last week’s funeral of the latest victim, Arnie “Tivvy” Gomersall, at which a church minister, the Rev Matt Woodcock, blasted the “scandalous” way the factory employees were exposed to deadly asbestos dust over decades.

Mr Gomersall had said some years ago that more than a score of his friends had died from asbestos exposure, and he feared that one day he would be affected.

Mr Cooper, who was a trade union official at the carriageworks in Holgate Road and helped set up a support group for York asbestos victims several years ago, said he kept records of deaths as he often helped the victims and their families.

He said his estimate of 141 deaths, which included 59 coachbuilders, among them Arnie, was not the full story, as it related only to cases of people who had died from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma and whose deaths had been investigated by inquests in York.

“It excludes people whose mesothelioma may not have been picked up by doctors, which does happen sometimes,” he said. “There will also be others who moved away from York years ago, or who died while being treated in hospitals elsewhere, such as Castle Hill near Hull.

“In such cases, if an inquest was held, it would probably have taken place in the city where they died rather than York.”

He said the illness often developed many decades after the victim was exposed to the dust, with fibres lying dormant in the lungs before eventually causing the cancer.

He said it was certain there would be more deaths and the number each year appeared to be rising.

Over the years, there had been about five or six confirmed cases in York each year, but he feared that in the last 12 to 18 months, there had been about nine such cases.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:01pm Fri 2 Mar 12

Kenskoi says...

Workers from far and wide used to work at the carriage works, lodging all week and going home for the weekend so you will never be able to count the true number of deaths caused by the Carriage works. There was an asbestos register held by the RMT Unions solicitors but since they have moved out of York I do not know where it would be held now.
Workers from far and wide used to work at the carriage works, lodging all week and going home for the weekend so you will never be able to count the true number of deaths caused by the Carriage works. There was an asbestos register held by the RMT Unions solicitors but since they have moved out of York I do not know where it would be held now. Kenskoi
  • Score: 0

6:18pm Fri 2 Mar 12

muckybutt says...

I remember when they were sold off to that American company who I cant remember their name !! anyhow I was working for the contractor renewing the lighting and electrical installation, to begin with we had to wear air quality monitors, after a few weeks the contractor came along and said sign this please, it was a disclaimer saying that if we developed asbestosis or any other industrial disease as a result of working there then we wouldnt sue them.....yeahhh like we were going to sign that, they got told where to shove it.
A terrible disease and a ticking timebomb, my sympathy goes out to you.
I remember when they were sold off to that American company who I cant remember their name !! anyhow I was working for the contractor renewing the lighting and electrical installation, to begin with we had to wear air quality monitors, after a few weeks the contractor came along and said sign this please, it was a disclaimer saying that if we developed asbestosis or any other industrial disease as a result of working there then we wouldnt sue them.....yeahhh like we were going to sign that, they got told where to shove it. A terrible disease and a ticking timebomb, my sympathy goes out to you. muckybutt
  • Score: 0

2:23pm Sat 3 Mar 12

michaeljohnrogan says...

I served my apprenticeship as a Coach Builder at.York Carriage Works and witnesesd the start of asbestos spraying in the Building,and Spray/Trimming, shops untill i left in 1961, i am lucky to be still alive as i know every single one of those who have since died,my uncle included,we had no warning,instructions
,or provided with protective clothing,we were exposed in our ignorance every working day to the deadly dust,i also witnessed the suffering of those affected,and of their families,as i later trained as a.State Registered Nurse,at the old City General and County Hospitals where many came as patients.I have documented every detail of my working experience since the start of Asbestos spraying of which i would willingly supply to those interested,British Rail were 100% responsible,
I served my apprenticeship as a Coach Builder at.York Carriage Works and witnesesd the start of asbestos spraying in the Building,and Spray/Trimming, shops untill i left in 1961, i am lucky to be still alive as i know every single one of those who have since died,my uncle included,we had no warning,instructions ,or provided with protective clothing,we were exposed in our ignorance every working day to the deadly dust,i also witnessed the suffering of those affected,and of their families,as i later trained as a.State Registered Nurse,at the old City General and County Hospitals where many came as patients.I have documented every detail of my working experience since the start of Asbestos spraying of which i would willingly supply to those interested,British Rail were 100% responsible, michaeljohnrogan
  • Score: 0

3:18pm Sat 3 Mar 12

redrrr says...

I served an apprenticeship there in the seventies. They were still stripping the old asbestos filled coaches in the repair shop then even though those in the know had recognised the dangers years earlier. The air quality in the building shop with all the welding wasn’t much better. Thankfully I got out as soon as I’d finished my apprenticeship but I still wonder what damage was done whenever I get a cough. BREL have a lot to answer for. Best wishes to all who worked there and RIP Tivvy.
I served an apprenticeship there in the seventies. They were still stripping the old asbestos filled coaches in the repair shop then even though those in the know had recognised the dangers years earlier. The air quality in the building shop with all the welding wasn’t much better. Thankfully I got out as soon as I’d finished my apprenticeship but I still wonder what damage was done whenever I get a cough. BREL have a lot to answer for. Best wishes to all who worked there and RIP Tivvy. redrrr
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree