Handyman's cancer could have been caused by working at Butlins holiday camp at Filey

Robert Scarpelli
Robert Scarpelli

A former Butlins handyman is desperate to discover if his devastating cancer diagnosis stems from his time working at the famous holiday park almost four decades ago.

Robert Scarpelli was diagnosed with mesothelioma - a form of cancer which can develop years after exposure to the dangerous material - last summer when he began to have serious breathing problems.

The 58-year-old worked at Butlins holiday camp in Filey, where he was exposed to asbestos between 1980 and 1982 while working as a handyman.

Robert is urging anyone who worked him at the holiday park to come forward and help determine if his asbestos exposure could have occurred at the site.

The father of three said: “I was completely stunned to be diagnosed with mesothelioma and the illness has had a huge impact on my life.

“I’ve had a permanent tube fitted to drain fluid from my lungs and I’m currently recovering from radical surgery to remove the lining of my lung called a pleurectomy.

“I’ve also had six cycles of chemotherapy., some days the pain is unbearable and I’m on morphine as I attempt to manage that.

“My life has just been completely turned upside down by this terrible diagnosis and I’m now incredibly worried for the future; I just want to know what caused my illness before it’s too late.”

Robert from Rotherham in South Yorkshire, was originally a kitchen porter when he started working at Butlins in 1980, but he moved into maintenance work and became a handyman on the site which closed in 1983.

“The role involved a range of tasks from repairing locks and windows to roofing leaks,” Robert added.

“Quite often I would have to drill into walls and this would create lots of dust, while I would also board holes up with a material I thought was just plasterboard.

“Looking back, I am now unsure whether it may have in fact been asbestos.”

“Any help with gaining answers regarding this would be appreciated.”

Robert has instructed specialist expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and help him determine how it was caused.

Adrian Budgen, specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office representing Robert, said: “This is a shocking case because Robert has developed mesothelioma at what is a relatively young age for this form of cancer.

“Robert is understandably devastated by the diagnosis and we are determined to help him gain answers and access to vital financial support which will assist with his ongoing treatment needs.

“We would be hugely grateful to anyone who may be able to help us with our investigations by shedding light on the conditions at the Butlins holiday camp in Filey at the time in question.”

Butlins has been contacted for comment.