awyers acting for a man from Eltham, London, who worked as a plumber for Ford and the Ministry of Defence and died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma, have secured over £50,000 in compensation. Upon his death in April 2005, the children of widower William Springham approached personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors. Their claim was settled after Court proceedings had been issued in the Royal Courts of Justice, London.

Mr Springham’s symptoms began with breathlessness and a bad chest, and he was diagnosed with the deadly condition in October 2004, following x-rays and a lung biopsy at the St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Prior to becoming ill, he was a very active person, enjoying his well earned retirement as an independent widower.

Exposed to asbestos at work, as a plumber

Born in 1932, William Springham began work as an apprentice plumber and worked on the piping at the Woolwich Arsenal. For a large part of his career, he was exposed to asbestos on a regular basis. Before his death last year, he recalled a visit made to the site by the Duke of Edinburgh and a comment he made about the place being a “white elephant” – a reference to the abundance of asbestos. He remembered that laggers would come in behind the plumbers and lag the pipes, applying layers of the asbestos mixture to the pipes.

In 1958 he went to work for Ford, based at the tractor plant in Dagenham, Essex. There he was employed again as a plumber, overhauling the hydraulics. Before his death, he recalled de-scaling the eight foot steel water cylinders, from which he had to take out the bolts and then de-scale them. The chlorifyers were lagged with asbestos materials which would be disturbed when he removed the bolts.

Susan Bradley, Mr Springham’s daughter, comments: “Our Dad was such an active, lovely man, liked by everyone. It was heartbreaking to see his health deteriorate in front of us. My brothers and I are devastated that he has been taken away from us through no fault of his own and we’re now fighting for justice on his behalf.”

Representing Mr Springham, his solicitor Lorna Webster from Thompsons Solicitors in London, comments: “Throughout his career, William Springham was never provided with a mask or other protective equipment to stop the inhalation of the deadly asbestos dust, nor was he given any warnings about the dangers of asbestos.”

“Too many innocent victims like William Springham are dying as a result of the negligence of large employers including Ford and the Ministry of Defence. And many more tragic cases will follow, with mesothelioma already responsible for 1,800 deaths each year."