Devastated widow’s appeal for answers after ‘huge’ Bristol City supporter dies of asbestos-related cancer

Roland Clapp, aged 71, died in December without knowing he had peritoneal mesothelioma

The widow of a Bristol City supporter who died from asbestos-related cancer says she wants answers over his death as she launches an appeal for his former workmates to get in contact.

Roland Clapp, aged 71, died in December without knowing he had peritoneal mesothelioma - a terminal form of cancer which affects the lining of the abdomen and is commonly linked to contact with asbestos.

His devastated wife, Brenda, 70, of Staple Hill now wants to find out at which workplace her husband was exposed to the substance.

Mr Clapp worked at the Port of Bristol Authority in the late 1960s, Robert Hobbs in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Board Mill Factory in St Anne’s in the mid-1970s and the Bristol Royal Infirmary from around 2003 to 2020.

Roland Clapp with wife Brenda, who is appealing for his old work colleagues to come forward

Mrs Clapp has instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate and help determine how he developed the illness.

She said: “I met Roland through work in 2001 and he really was a really wonderful man. He was such a loving and caring husband and it still really hasn’t sunk in that he is no longer here.

“At no point before he died did we know Roland had cancer. He was still active and enjoying his retirement. He was a huge Bristol City fan and he was into football in big way. He also spent a lot of time with his step grandchildren who he picked up from school most days.

“We still had so many plans for the future. It’s been hard enough trying to come to terms with the fact that we’ll never get to spend more time together let alone the shock he had mesothelioma. It’s sad to think that he died without knowing about the condition.

“Nothing will change what has happened, but I just feel I deserve some answers. It would be fantastic if people could come forward and help us – it really would be massively appreciated.”

Brenda Clapp met Roland in 2001, but tragically lost him in December to asbestos-related cancer

She is asking anyone who worked with Mr Clapp for information on his work.

Roland’s first job was as a labourer for the Port of Bristol Authority in the 1960s. He initially worked at the tobacco bonded warehouse in Hotwells, before moving to the Port of Bristol.

After that, he worked at Robert Hobbs as a general labourer making breeze blocks and cement. He was employed at the foundry in Whitehall and then moved to the cement plant at Backwell.

He was then a machine minder at the Board Mill factory and was there from the mid-1970s until its closure. He took up his final role as a porter at BRI in his early 50s and worked there for almost 20 years.

Rebecca Buxton, the specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who is representing Mrs Clapp, said: “Just months on from Roland’s death, Brenda and the rest of Roland’s family remain devastated by their loss. In particular it was also a great shock to learn that Roland had an asbestos-related disease, as this was something that even he didn’t know about.

“Understandably Brenda has so many questions about what has happened and we’re determined to help her obtain the answers she deserves. We’d be very grateful if anyone who worked with Roland could come forward. Any information could make a difference in helping Brenda.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Rebecca Buxton at Irwin Mitchell on 0117 926 1574 or email [email protected]