A former civil servant from Gateshead is urging her former colleagues to help her with a legal claim, after she was diagnosed with the asbestos disease, mesothelioma.


Elizabeth Jackson, 71, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in September 2022 after struggling with breathing difficulties.

Mrs Jackson, nee Wilson, worked for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Social Security (DSS) between 1968 and 1979, at the Longbenton site in Newcastle. It’s believed that she was exposed to asbestos during this period.


Elizabeth Jackson sitting on a car

The buildings she worked in – blocks nine, 10 and 11 - were flat top buildings and believed to be prefabricated.

She said: “I distinctly remember the buildings being in poor condition and requiring regular maintenance works – dust would often come off the ceiling tiles. I even remember the local press reporting about asbestos at the buildings as far back as the 1990s.

“The diagnosis has turned my life upside down. I struggle to do the most basic of tasks without experiencing breathlessness. My husband and I used to love visiting the Lake District, but we can’t do this anymore.

“I’ve been undergoing a course of immunotherapy over the last few months, which has taken its toll. I’m hoping that, by reaching out to my old workmates, I’ll be able to find some answers with a successful compensation claim.”

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining of the body's organs (commonly the lungs), which is usually linked to asbestos exposure. It can often take decades for symptoms to develop after exposure. According to Cancer Research UK, approximately 2,400 people die from mesothelioma cancer each year in the UK.

Mrs Jackson has turned to Thompsons Solicitors to help with her claim. The legal experts have been paving the way for asbestos litigation in the UK, ever since it brought about the first successful asbestos disease claim to the House of Lords in 1972.

Joseph Dowey, an asbestos specialist at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “We would be grateful to hear from anyone who remembers working for the DSS and the DWP, particularly alongside Mrs Jackson (known to her colleagues as Elizabeth Wilson), at the ‘Ministry’ site in Longbenton, Newcastle, and can recall being exposed to asbestos or the presence of asbestos in blocks 9, 10 and 11.

“We hope then that we will be able to help Mrs Jackson answer questions about the conditions that she worked in.”

Anyone with information should contact Joseph Dowey at Thompsons Solicitors on 0191 269 0457, or via email at josephdowey@thompsons.law.