James Bond filmset at heart of asbestos compensation case23 November 2006
Family of Feltham man who died of asbestos cancer to claim for £150,000 compensation
The 1960’s Pinewood Studio filmsets for James Bond’s “Goldfinger”, Carry On movies and other well known films are at the centre of a £150,000 asbestos compensation claim in the High Court. Ronald Sharp, from Feltham, died following exposure to the deadly substance during his career in the film industry.
Mr Sharp, from Feltham in Middlesex, died aged only 59 from mesothelioma, the deadly asbestos cancer, which he contracted after many years working as a scenic painter during the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Asbestos was in regular use on the Pinewood filmsets, particularly as a fire retardant due to the inflammable special effects in the Bond films and was also used to lag pipes. Asbestos boards were used to line the sets and Mr Sharp would work next to the carpenters who cut them up, while asbestos dust and fibres flew about. He was not provided with protective equipment to prevent him inhaling the dust.
Ronald Sharp’s widow Barbara said: "I never expected to lose my husband so young due to the negligence of his former employers. No amount of money will bring him back, but I will fight to ensure that his former employers, who exposed him to the asbestos that killed him, should be made to pay full compensation.”
Rank Film Productions, which was based at Pinewood, is the only one of Mr Sharp’s three former employers that can be traced and was insured.
Ronald Sharp was a member of the trade union BECTU which has supported Barbara with her claim for compensation. Gerry Morrissey, BECTU Assistant General Secretary comments: “The deadly asbestos cancer mesothelioma is responsible for 1,800 deaths each year, and has already wreaked havoc on innocent families such as the Sharps. BECTU urges other members who worked at Pinewood in the 1960s and 70s – the number of which could run into thousands - who think they may have been exposed to asbestos to contact the union for advice and to join our asbestos register which helps us to trace witnesses to asbestos and to speed up compensation claims.''
David Stothard, Mrs Sharp’s solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors in London, a firm which specialises in asbestos related diseases, comments: “Before his death, Mr Sharp recounted to me his days as a scenic painter at Pinewood Studios. He showed me scenes from the movie Goldfinger, freeze framing them to point out the actual piping lagged with asbestos in certain scenes. For innocent victims like Mr Sharp, mesothelioma is a tragic illness caused by the negligence of their employers.”
This story has also been published by the Times Newspaper. To read their report visit Film set painter's widow sues studio over asbestos death.
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