The family of a 75-year-old former nursing assistant and carer who worked in Wolverhampton and was diagnosed with an asbestos disease earlier this year, is calling on her former colleagues to help make a compensation claim.

Beryl Mellor worked as a nursing assistant at the New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton from 1979 until 2002. It is thought that she may have been exposed to asbestos when large-scale renovation works took place in the

Beryl Mellor and her husband
Beryl Mellor and her husband

hospital’s ‘B Block’, which saw the installation and modification of several treatment centres, wards, lifts and food and drink outlets.

The renovations took place in the early 1990s, where labourers would routinely remove ceiling panels, walls, doors and heating systems. It is believed that asbestos was disturbed during this time.

At no time was Mrs Mellor, or her colleagues, provided with adequate protection or warned about the risks of asbestos.

Mrs Mellor and her husband, Graham, moved to Cumbernauld in Scotland in 2019 to live with her daughter, Angela.

Earlier this year, the carers who were looking after Graham spotted that she was suffering from chest pain and breathlessness. After an x-ray at her doctor’s surgery, Mrs Mellor was referred to hospital, where a scan found a shadow on her lung – later confirmed to be the asbestos disease, mesothelioma.

Beryl Mellor’s daughter, Angela Ferris, said: “My mum has devoted her last few years to caring for my dad, but as a result would often ignore signs that her own health wasn’t as good as it should be. It took a while but eventually she agreed to see the GP and I’m glad we persisted – otherwise we still might not have known what was wrong with her.”

Since the diagnosis, Mrs Mellor has had four rounds of chemotherapy and her family are hopeful that she may be able to start ground-breaking immunotherapy treatment later this year, which may be able to improve her quality of life further.

But without the help of ex-colleagues to verify the presence of asbestos during her time of work, the family may struggle to secure the compensation needed for immunotherapy, which is currently only available on a private basis.

The family is being supported by Thompsons Solicitors, which has a long-standing reputation for representing the victims of asbestos related disease, having brought the first successful asbestos disease claim to the House of Lords in 1972.

Mrs Ferris added: “We would be hugely grateful if anyone who worked at the hospital in the early 1990s, especially those who knew my mum, could assist us and the legal team at Thompsons Solicitors with our claim. Any help – however big or small – could be enough to get us the answers we need and enable us to access treatments to improve my mum’s quality of life.”

Mesothelioma is a fatal form of asbestos-related cancer that can take decades to develop from the smallest level of exposure to asbestos. While men are typically considered to be more at-risk of developing the disease, as exposure often occurred in male-dominated industries such as manufacturing and construction, this toxic substance has left a legacy for women as well, not just as grieving widows, sisters, daughters and friends – but also as victims of asbestos-related disease.

According to data from the Health and Safety Executive, of the 2,446 mesothelioma deaths recorded in Great Britain in 2018, 396 were women. This equates to approximately one in every six cases and is consistent with previous years.

Joseph Dowey, of Thompsons Solicitors, who is supporting the family, said: “Beryl devoted her life to caring for others and, in a cruel twist of fate, it may be that very job which caused her to develop this devastating disease.

“Asbestos has long been seen as a disease that plagues men, especially those who worked in heavy industry during the mid-20th century. This is no longer the case and we are seeing increasing numbers of men and woman coming forward who were exposed in offices, schools and hospitals. Worse still, many of these people – such as Beryl – were exposed in the 1990s or even later, by which point employers knew of the risks of asbestos, yet still failed to protect their staff from harm.

“If any of her former colleagues can confirm the presence of asbestos at the time she worked there, please come forward as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information should contact Joseph Dowey at Thompsons Solicitors on 0191 269 0457 or email