Thompsons Solicitors has secured compensation which will go towards fulfilling the wishes of a well-known assisted dying campaigner who died of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer.
Robert Cole – Bob as he was known - was diagnosed with the terminal illness in July 2015, aged 68.
His diagnosis with mesothelioma came just over a year after he helped his wife Ann to end her life at Dignitas. Following her death, he became an active voice in the calls to legalise assisted dying in the UK, and decided to make the same choice as his condition worsened.
His journey to Switzerland and final days were documented by ITN and by The Sun and widely reported in the national press. He died on 14 August 2015.
Bob believed he had contracted mesothelioma whilst working with asbestos as an apprentice joiner in the 1960s in Greater Manchester, and contacted asbestos disease compensation experts Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim. Thompsons fought to secure damages on behalf of Bob, both before and after his death.
The compensation will contribute to Bob’s legacies, including donations to Dignity in Dying, the Snowdonia Society, the National Secular Society, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and funding young people living in Blaenau Ffestiniog to get into vocational training and apprenticeships.
Bob’s good friend, Michael Murray who accompanied him to Zurich along with three others, has been the executor of his estate.
He said: “It was a relief to know that we could leave everything to be done by Thompsons, who were terrific, while I looked after Bob in his final days. I saw the huge file of evidence they had compiled and I was glad Bob and I did not have to try and battle through his legal case alone.
“Thompsons fought hard to secure compensation – which will now go towards Bob’s legacies. It is heartening to know that he is still doing so much good in the world with the money that was owed to him, and we’d like to thank Diana Fos, his solicitor, for making that happen.”
Diana Fos, an asbestos disease claims expert at Thompsons Solicitors said: “Bob was a hugely influential character and was incredibly brave in the face of mesothelioma.
“Thousands of workers like Bob are diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses every year in the UK. We brought about the first ever successful case for asbestos-related disease in the UK and we will continue to fight for those who are affected.”