Mesothelioma, often known as ‘meso’, is a disease that is commonly associated with manual professions in which asbestos was used before it was banned, however, it is possible to develop mesothelioma second-hand by handling the clothes of those who worked with asbestos. 

Research by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which analysed more than 45,000 male and 8,000 female deaths between 1981 and 2015, found Barking and Dagenham in Essex to have the UK’s highest ratio of female mesothelioma deaths. 

Barking and Dagenham has historically been the location for industrial companies and factories such as Ford, Cape Asbestos, Tate & Lyle, the General Electricity Board and British Rail – businesses that employed thousands of local people. Many of those who have died of meso across Essex, including in Barking and Dagenham, could have developed the asbestos disease as a result of second-hand exposure, such as washing the overalls of those who worked with asbestos or working alongside those who did so. 

Lorna Webster is the head of Thompsons Solicitors’ South East region specialist asbestos team and has secured significant asbestos disease compensation for sufferers across Essex. Lorna, who has lived in Essex all her life, is based in the national law firm Thompsons Solicitors’ Dagenham office. She is uniquely qualified to help local people who have been diagnosed with the asbestos disease, to begin mesothelioma claims and seek justice for their suffering. 

"I can’t thank Lorna enough...for her professional help and support, which was fantastic."

Mesothelioma client


1. What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a fatal form of asbestos cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos dust. The symptoms of the disease can take decades to develop.

2. What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

The symptoms of mesothelioma include: chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, a high temperature, a persistent cough, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss. 

If you have been in contact with asbestos and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek medical advice as soon as possible. 

3. How can Thompsons Solicitors help people in Essex who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma?

Lorna is the head of our specialist and compassionate asbestos team who cover the South East and regularly help men and women from across the Essex region, in places like Barking and Dagenham, to secure compensation for mesothelioma. Our asbestos experience is unrivalled – it was Thompsons Solicitors in 1972 that brought the first successful UK asbestos disease case to the House of Lords. Thompsons’ established itself then, and remains, a leading asbestos disease law firm.  

4. Are there time limits to making a mesothelioma compensation claim?

Yes. The law places a time limit of three years in which to begin a personal injury claim. In a mesothelioma claim, the three years runs from the date that a person was diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease. That means you can still make a claim even if you were exposed to the substance decades ago, but were diagnosed in the past three years. Contact our expert Essex-based asbestos solicitors today to begin your claim. 

5. A family member was diagnosed with mesothelioma but has since passed away. Can I still make a mesothelioma claim?

If your relative passed away from mesothelioma within the past three years, you can still make a mesothelioma compensation claim on their behalf. 

6. The Essex-based company I was working for at the time of my asbestos exposure doesn’t exist anymore. Can I still make a mesothelioma compensation claim?

Yes. Thompsons Solicitors’ specialist asbestos lawyers can still pursue a mesothelioma claim by tracing the company’s former insurer. In circumstances where we cannot identify the insurer, there are specialist schemes through which you may still be able to make a claim. Contact your locally-based expert asbestos lawyers for more information. 

7. Will I have to pay to make a mesothelioma claim with Thompsons Solicitors’ Dagenham-based specialists?

No. Thompsons Solicitors offers an agreement that is truly ‘no win, no fee’. The service is free if the case is won or lost. 


For the past 90 years, Thompsons Solicitors has helped millions of people secure compensation after developing an injury or illness through no fault of their own, including those that have developed an asbestos-related disease. We are proud to only ever represent the injured. We have never, and will never, work on behalf of employers or insurers.

Vivienne’s Story

We helped 60-year-old Vivienne Swain secure compensation after she developed mesothelioma as a result of breathing in asbestos dust when washing her husband’s work overalls. She said:


“Thompsons has worked tirelessly on my claim for compensation, which is giving me strength to carry on in the face of this illness.”

Vivienne Swain

Lisa’s Story

Lisa’s dad, Billy, was only 64 years old when he passed away from mesothelioma. After Lisa turned to Thompsons Solicitors for meso legal advice, our asbestos lawyers were able to trace two employers liable for Billy’s death and hold them to account. Listen to Lisa talk about her successful mesothelioma claim with Thompsons Solicitors. 

Philip’s Story

Our mesothelioma solicitors recovered a six-figure settlement for the family of Philip Gibbon, who sadly died of mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos while working as a shop fitter and joiner in the 60s and 70s. Read Philip’s story. 


Lorna helped a retired member of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), from Southend-on-Sea, to secure compensation after he developed mesothelioma working as a firefighter for two councils over the course of 20 years. He said:

Lorna Webster Specialist Asbestos Solicitor
Lorna Webster - Specialist Asbestos Solicitor

From our first interview I was very impressed by [Lorna’s] professional manner and obvious expertise in this field.  At a time when I was very low she also offered a confident air that gave me some hope of extra security for my family. Would you please pass onto her and her team our heartfelt thanks for achieving a most satisfactory settlement to my case, which I am sure was due in no small part to their efforts.”  Learn more. 

The widow of a diseased Unite member from Basildon turned to Thompsons Solicitors after her husband passed away from mesothelioma, which was caused by exposure to asbestos while he worked for a refinery and a car manufacturer. She said:

When we first got in touch with Thompsons my husband was alive but suffering with mesothelioma. We couldn’t have been better treated when Lorna took our case on. We were kept informed all the way along. My husband lost his fight for life before the case was settled but the fight for compensation went on. Now compensation has been paid and I can’t thank Thompsons enough for all their help and perseverance in finalising the case. It won’t bring my husband back but it will help me make my life a little easier.”  Read more. 

One of Lorna’s mesothelioma clients from Stanford-le-Hope said:

I can’t thank Lorna enough who dealt with my claim for her professional help and support which was fantastic.  I was kept informed of progress from start to finish in a highly professional, caring, friendly and patient way.  Words cannot express my gratitude enough and I have great confidence and no hesitation in recommending Lorna and her team to friends and family. Lorna is a credit to her profession. Thank you Thompsons.”  


If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in the past three years or if a loved one has passed away from mesothelioma in the past three years, Thompsons’ specialist mesothelioma lawyers are here to provide you with expert legal advice and help you begin a mesothelioma compensation claim. 

Choose one of the three quick and simple ways to do this: contact us today by calling 0800 0 224 224, request a callback or complete our free, no obligation claim form.