The widow of a former engineer from Halesowen who died of asbestos-related cancer has called for old workmates to come forward to help her gain justice over his death.

Surinder Singh Ruprai died aged 67 after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lung most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos.

Before his death, father-of-three and grandfather-of-four, Surinder, instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether the cancer may have been linked to his work history.

Now, with his family continuing the search for answers, legal experts are seeking information regarding the working conditions Surinder would have faced while employed by Heaton Ward Ltd at the company’s Western Road site in Birmingham from 1970 to 1986.

They are also keen for further details regarding the presence of asbestos after the company was taken over by Birmingham Stopper & Cycle Component Company Ltd. Surinder worked for the latter from 1986 until he was made redundant in 2009.

Satinder Bains, the lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Surinder’s family, said: “This is yet another incredibly tragic case which highlights the devastating impact that asbestos exposure can have, with Surinder developing the illness many years after his contact with the material is thought to have occurred.

“His family remain devastated by their loss but are keen to gain answers regarding just how he came to be exposed to asbestos. With this in mind, we would be grateful to anyone who can provide information regarding these employers and the working conditions Surinder would have faced.

“Any detail, no matter how small, could ultimately prove vital to our efforts to secure justice for this family.”

Surinder moved to the West Midlands from India in 1969 and started an engineering apprenticeship with Heaton Ward Ltd shortly afterwards.

Before he died in March 2016, he outlined to Irwin Mitchell how his apprenticeship lasted four years and he then became a fully qualified engineer. He also revealed his belief that the corrugated roof at the Western Road site was made from asbestos sheets, while he remembered seeing lagged pipework which was in a bad condition.

Heaton Ward Ltd was bought out by Birmingham Stopper & Cycle Component Company Ltd in 1986 and while Surinder undertook the same role, he also recalled using white bricks during a process to melt small components. While he was unsure what they were made of, he noted they were capable of withstanding significant temperatures.

Surinder’s widow Kamaljit, aged 62, said: “More than two years on from his death, the entire family remain devastated that he is no longer with us. He was a much-loved father and grandfather and everyone misses him so much.

“Surinder was desperate for justice regarding his illness before he died and we feel obliged to continue the fight on his behalf.

"We would be hugely grateful to anyone who can help us with this, as key information could prove vital to getting answers regarding the illness which took his life.”

Anyone with information can call Satinder Bains at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office on 0121 214 5281.