Peter Ashworth, from Barking, began working at the Port of Tilbury as a messenger boy in 1959 and worked his way up to become a clerk for the Port of London Authority where he was employed until he retired in 2010.

In October 2014, Peter began to feel unwell. His condition deteriorated rapidly and he died on 29 December. The following day, his family received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, an asbestos–related cancer, which was confirmed by subsequent autopsy.

Industrial disease specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, is now investigating the case on behalf of the Ashworth family. Peter, who lived in Rayleigh, is known to have worked predominantly in Berth 43, as well as Berth 26 and Berth 45 in the Port of Tilbury.

Jackie Wood, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The family are appealing for anyone who worked at the Port of Tilbury between 1959 and 2010 in any of the office buildings to come forward with information about the working conditions there. It has been suggested that a building containing asbestos in Berth 43 was condemned and demolished, but Peter could have come into contact with asbestos at any time while working at the port.

“It is vital people with information come forward to help us understand how Peter came into contact with asbestos at the Port of Tilbury.”

Anyone who thinks they have information to help Peter’s family should contact Jackie Wood at Thompsons Solicitors on 0207 290 0031 /