Plea for answers after blacksmith's 'devastating' death

William Botson

William Botson, who passed away aged 82 in August 2019. - Credit: Irwin Mitchell

The "devastated" family of a blacksmith who died after a battle with asbestos-related cancer are seeking answers about his death.

William Botson, from Lowestoft, died aged 82 in August 2019 after suffering from lung cancer and asbestosis - a long-term inflammation and scarring of the lungs due to breathing in asbestos fibres.

Now, his family are investigating his illness to find out how he could have been exposed to the hazardous substance.

Andrew Armes, Mr Botson's son-in-law, said: "A year on from losing him, we are still devastated.

"When he first started complaining of feeling ill, we didn't think it would turn out the way it has.

"It was horrible to see him deteriorate so quickly.

"To find out it was most likely a result of asbestos exposure during his working years was a shock and we need to know where it took place.

Most Read

"While nothing will bring him back, all we can hope for now is the answers that he deserved before he died.

"We would be grateful to anyone that could come forward with details that might help."

Mr Botson worked as a blacksmith and welder at the British Rail depot in Norwich over two spells, firstly between 1961 and 1975, then again between 1981 and 1996.

Between 1976 and 1981, Mr Botson worked as a welder and blacksmith at Waveney District Council.

Samantha Shaw, specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who are representing the family, said: "William's family are understandably still struggling to come to terms with losing him in such an awful way.

"Asbestos poses many dangers to workers that come into contact with it, with the effects often coming to light several decades afterwards.

"Through our work, we come across many families destroyed because of asbestos.

"William passed away before finding out what caused his illness, and his family are desperate to get the answers he sadly did not.

"We are therefore keen to hear from anyone that was employed alongside him and can offer details on the environment he worked in.

"Any information, no matter how small, could prove vital in our investigation."

Anyone with information is urged to call Ms Shaw on 01223 791 815 or email

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus