THE heartbroken widow of a former Penarth foundry worker who died from an asbestos-related cancer is appealing to his former colleagues to come forward with any information about the working conditions to help with an investigation into his exposure to the deadly dust.

Ian James, better known as Yano James to his friends and colleagues, was only 56 when he died on September 25, 2012, following a year-long battle with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs which is caused by exposure to hazardous asbestos dust.

His widow Alison instructed specialist industrial disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the working conditions at John Williams Foundries Limited based at Curren Embarkment in Cardiff.

Expert lawyers at the firm are now appealing for any of Yano’s former colleagues to come forward with information about the presence of asbestos and working conditions at the foundry to help secure justice for his family.

Alison, 52, believes that her husband was exposed to asbestos while he worked at John Williams Foundries Limited between 1989 and 1994, where he worked as an inspector and later an auditor. In the foundry, Yano was responsible for checking the iron castings, which were made for the motor industry. He worked in the window factory and the maintenance department of the foundry.

Kim Barrett, a specialist industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes so much distress for victims like Yano who worked in industries where asbestos was regularly used.

“Sadly, many employers did not do enough to manage the risks of asbestos exposure, despite knowing how dangerous it is, leaving so many workers now suffering the terrible affects.

“We hope that Yano’s former co-workers and employees who worked at John Williams Foundries Limited will come forward to help answer the many questions his family have about his exposure as well as what measures, if any, were in place to protect employees like him.

“We have already heard from one of Yano’s former colleagues who confirmed that asbestos was present in the corrugated roof of the foundry and in the lagging of the pipework and so now we are hoping that others will come forward to help us piece together our investigation for his family.”

Father-of-two Yano started to suffer with shortness of breath, chest pains and weight loss in summer 2011. He went to see his GP Dr Warren who referred him to Dr Helen Davies at Llandough Hospital, where he had a thorascopy and a biopsy of his lung was taken which led to his diagnosed in September 2011 with mesothelioma. Yano underwent a course of chemotherapy.

Alison, a post lady, said: “It was a complete shock to lose Yano and it has been a struggle to come to terms with him not being with me. As a family we are devastated that he was diagnosed with this terminal illness after being exposed to asbestos through simply going to work.

“Yano and I have two grown children and three grandchildren whom he adored. He was an excellent sportsman and was good at everything he turned his hand to. In his later years he loved playing darts and golf. He was devastated and frustrated when he became unable to participate in any of these activities due to his illness. He even tried his hand at bowling after his diagnosis in the hope that he would be able to manage this sport, but even this was too much for him.”

“I urge anyone who worked with at John Williams Foundries to come forward with information so we can move his case forward and begin to move on with our lives.”

Anyone with any information about the working conditions at John Williams Foundries Limited is asked to contact Kim Barrett at Irwin Mitchell on 0121 214 5211 or email