A group of mesothelioma sufferers and their families have released a short film with a hard-hitting message calling on the Government to amend the law on asbestos compensation.

The North East Mesothelioma Self Help Group calls for bereavement compensation paid to families of mesothelioma victims in England and Wales to be increased in line with payments currently made in Scotland. Mesothelioma is the fatal cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos exposure.

The group is backing Thompsons Solicitors' campaign, Justice for Asbestos Families.

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Justice for Asbestos Families

Victims exposed to asbestos at work

Anne Craig, from Hebburn who lost her husband David to mesothelioma when he was just 54, says: “How or why can my grief and the grief, pain and loss of widows and families in England and Wales be any less than that of widows and families in Scotland?”

David Drew from Blyth, who is suffering from mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos as an apprentice, adds: “I feel passionately that we should all be the same regardless of what side of the border we live on. My wife should be compensated the same as a widow in Scotland following my death.”

The Justice for Asbestos Families campaign highlights unfairness in the way compensation for bereavement is awarded to families who have lost a relative to mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma sufferers in England, Scotland and Wales should all be treated equally

Families in England and Wales receive tens of thousands of pounds less in compensation than their counterparts in Scotland.

The film, which features mesothelioma sufferers as well as those who have lost family members to the disease, shows the full extent of the suffering and grief of those affected.

They talk frankly about how mesothelioma has devastated their lives.

Members of the Mesothelioma Self Help Group, set up by Wallsend asbestos widow Chris Knighton hope their film will encourage MPs to put pressure on the Government.

Chris said: “Our members feel very strongly about this injustice. This issue affects every one of us and hundreds more across the North East alone. Why should the grief and sorrow of families in England and Wales be treated any differently to our neighbours in Scotland?”

Thompsons Solicitors head of asbestos policy, Ian McFall said: “This campaign is intended to benefit families affected by mesothelioma, like those in North East Mesothelioma Self Help Group.

“£10,000 is a derisory sum for the grief caused by the death of a close family member. Whole families suffer terribly when they lose a loved one to mesothelioma. They carry the emotional burden with them the rest of their lives.”

The film will be emailed to MPs.

Hundreds of supporters have already signed an online petition supporting the campaign.

This story was also published by The Northern Echo.