Walter Petchey joined the Midland Bank as a trainee in 1962 aged 18 and remained there until he retired in 2004. Over the years, he worked at various branches across London.
As an Office Junior, one of his tasks involved regularly visiting the basements to check records. Walter remembers them being very dirty, dusty and claustrophobic because there was no ventilation. Often the heating pipes were in the basement, along with the boiler, and were lagged with asbestos, often in a very poor condition. He used to go down to the basement every day for between 10 and 40 minutes because he was in charge of the cash trolley.
Walter met his wife Anne when they both worked at the City Road branch. Anne was working as a General Clerk.
In the 80s, Walter was the manager at the Midland Bank East Ham branch and the Leytonstone High Road Branch. Major refurbishment works were carried out in these branches and the banks were not closed and the work was carried out around the bank staff and the customers. The bank buildings were very old and Walter recalls having to work in very dusty conditions.
In 1993, Walter was responsible for overseeing the refurbishment work at the Romford Branch the bank gave him a dry cleaning allowance because his clothes would be covered in dust. Before leaving work, he had to clean the dust off his suit with a wet sponge.
Walter stopped working in October 2014 to enjoy his retirement with his family. Just before Christmas that year he started to notice that he was becoming breathless. Eventually his GP referred him for tests which sadly confirmed the diagnosis of mesothelioma.
Because for the majority of his working life he'd been at the bank, initially Walter was not sure where he came into contact with asbestos. It was only when he started thinking further about his work conditions at the different branches he realised that he must have come into contact with asbestos when working for the Midland Bank.
Walter was referred to Shaheen Mosquera of Fieldfisher in March 2015 and a claim was reported to the HSBC. The HSBC did not disclose any documents in relation to asbestos at the branches where Walter had worked or any procedures they had in place for the management of the asbestos. In March 2016 Walter's claim was settled out of court for £237,500.00.
Walter went on to say:
"A big thank you for all your hard work, perseverance and encouragement over the past year; it has given me great support during a traumatic time. Your tenacity has been instrumental in bringing a difficult claim to a successful conclusion."
Shaheen Mosquera is a Solicitor in the Asbestos Claims team and has been representing victims of asbestos exposure and in particular those diagnosed with mesothelioma for the last 5 years.
You can contact Shaheen by:
Tel: 020 7861 4393
Contact us on freephone 0800 358 3848
Or start your claim online.
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