Sylvia Worth, 54, from Sancton in East Riding, Yorkshire was awarded £122,000 in damages after her husband, Harry, was exposed to asbestos while working on shipyards in Tyneside.

Harry, who was in his late 60s when he died, was exposed to the deadly dust as a teenage apprentice electrician working for Campbell & Isherwood, now known as Sorbo Ten Ltd.

Harry, who was brought up in Wallsend, worked on ships being built on Tyneside alongside contractors who were applying asbestos insulation.

He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February 2004 and died just a few months later in June 2004.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by exposure to asbestos. There is no cure for the disease which affects more than 2,000 people every year.

Harry went on to work in the aerospace industry as a technical sales manager where he had no contact with asbestos.

Sylvia said when Harry was first diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease Harry could not think where he had been exposed to the dust.

She said that he could not believe that he could develop such a deadly disease from the few years he worked alongside asbestos.

She said: “He was astounded when he was diagnosed. He thought you had to work with asbestos for a lifetime before you could get something like mesothelioma. He said to the doctor that he hadn’t been near asbestos in 45 years.”

Asbestos Related Disease

Harry decided to contact Thompsons Solicitors, to take up his case for compensation after getting in touch with Ridings Asbestos Support and Awareness Group (RASAG). The group is a registered charity and provides free advice and support to people and their families throughout Yorkshire who have been affected by asbestos.

He wanted to pursue compensation because he believed passionately that the government should invest in research to find a cure for the disease.

Sylvia said: “Harry encouraged me to pursue compensation after he was gone. He said wanted a sense of justice but he also wanted to help other people who are diagnosed in the future.”

She added: “I feel his life has been cut short by the neglect of work practices from decades ago. Money cannot replace a person. If I could have Harry back now they could take the money back.

“However, the work Thompsons have done for us has been fantastic. They have made what is a complicated process so much easier to deal with and Harry would be pleased to know his case has finally been settled.”

Tom Carden from RASAG said: “Sadly this case is not unique. As an asbestos support group we are seeing a steady increase in the number of enquiries about asbestos related disease, with people having been diagnosed some thirty to forty years after their initial exposure. The passage of time often makes it very difficult to pursue a claim. We therefore move as quickly as possible to ensure that all sufferers have access to the best advice and information, completely free of charge, to ensure justice prevails.”

Client representative at Thompsons Solicitors, Oliver Collett said: “We are pleased to have won compensation on behalf of Mr Worth’s family. He was exposed to asbestos through the negligence of his employers. Unfortunately he is one of many people who have been exposed to asbestos in the past to the detriment of their health in the future.

“At Thompsons we work hard to ensure that our clients get justice and proper compensation for their condition and so they can provide for their loved ones in the future.”