Family Of Basildon secretary appeal to her former workmates at Thurrock factory for help following asbestos cancer death

The family of a former office secretary are appealing to her former workmates for help following her death from asbestos-related cancer. 

Olive Marlborough, of Basildon, died from mesothelioma, a terminal form of cancer linked to exposure to asbestos, often decades earlier. Oliver, formerly of East Ham, was diagnosed a month before she died.

Following the 78-year-old mum-of-two’s death, her family, including daughter Emma Marlborough, instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate. 

Olive’s family and their legal team are now marking Global Asbestos Awareness Week to appeal for information about how she was exposed to the asbestos that claimed her life. 

They are particularly keen to hear from anyone who worked at plant machinery manufacturer Elba-Werk in Barking and Thurrock. Olive started as  a secretary at the Barking  in the mid-1970s before later transferring to the Thurrock site  until her retirement in 2000. 

Emma Guy the legal expert at Irwin Mitchell representing the family said: “Olive’s death is yet another reminder of the terrible legacy asbestos has left behind with the majority of people diagnosed with the disease many years after their exposure took place.

“Understandably Emma and the rest of Olive’s family have been left devastated by her death and still have a number of questions about what caused her illness.” 

“While nothing can make up for their loss we’re determined to provide Olive’s family with the answers they deserve and hopefully some form of closure.”

“Therefore we would be grateful if anyone who worked at Elba-Werk came forward with information about working conditions at the sites in Barking and later Thurrock. Any information could make all the difference to Olive’s family.”  

Olive was married to Brian. He also worked at Elba-Werk, including helping repair broken down machines.

Although mainly office based Olive would meet fitters who came into the office. She would also meet them in the stores to hand out tea and paperwork. 

Her husband Brian’s work clothes would often be covered in dust when he returned home from work.

Olive, who loved life and her family, had many varied interests was an avid reader, an active member at the local community centre attending bridge classes, playing keyboard and bowls. 

Olive loved quizzes and puzzles, she was a member of Mensa and had completed more than 30 escape rooms.

She started complaining of symptoms including breathlessness, lethargy, low appetite, weight loss and chronic diarrhoea. She was diagnosed with Mesothelioma in October 2019. She died in November 2019.

Her daughter Emma, 52, said: “Mum was the most loving and caring person you could ever wish to meet and adored her family. 

“The hole she has left in our lives is huge. We miss her every single day.

“Watching Mum as her condition worsened was shocking and horrible, especially knowing that there was nothing we could do to help.”

“While nothing will change what happened to Mum our family still has so many unanswered questions about her illness and how she was exposed to asbestos.”

“Mum really wanted to know where she had been exposed to the asbestos that caused her illness. We know it won’t bring her back but we’re determined to honour her memory by at least finding out what happened.”

“We would be so grateful to anyone who remembers Mum or worked at Elba-Werk and who came forward with information.”

Anyone with information about working conditions at Elba-Werk should contact Emma Guy at Irwin Mitchell on 0207 4213 913 or email

Global Asbestos Awareness Week runs from 1-7 April and aims to increase awareness of the dangers of asbestos and prevent exposure, including by families affected by the hazardous material telling their story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.