A plasterer who has just months to live has received a substantial sum in compensation just ten months after he developed asbestos related cancer.

The 48-year-old from Houghton Le Spring was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2008.

There is no cure for the disease which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Following his diagnosis he married his long term partner during a ceremony on Caribbean island St Thomas, followed by a romantic Caribbean cruise.

The couple are now enjoying each day of their marriage as much as they can.

He said: “As soon as I was diagnosed with mesothelioma I knew that time was short and wanted to marry my partner as soon as possible. We had been together for 11 years after I met her at my local church. Our wedding in St Thomas was one of the happiest days of my life.

“I am now looking forward to the birth of my first granddaughter who is due in August.”

Exposed to asbestos at work

The plasterer, who has two adult children and two step children, was exposed to asbestos as a 16-year-old apprentice with G M Pearson Limited, a building company based in Hetton le Hole. He was employed by the company for 11 years and was exposed to asbestos working on renovation of council houses across the North East.

He was never warned of the dangers of asbestos nor provided with any respiratory protection.

When he was diagnosed with the disease he was running a successful business as a self employed plasterer. He is now too ill to continue his work.

Interim payment secured within 6 weeks

Following his diagnosis he instructed asbestos compensation specialists Thompsons Solicitors in Newcastle to pursue a claim. Thompsons successfully secured an interim payment for the family within six weeks and a full out of court settlement in just ten months.

He said: “I loved my work and I knew it involved contact with asbestos. As the years went by I began to understand what a dangerous material it was and when I was self employed I took the necessary precautions, but by then it was too late. The damage had already been done.

“I’m concerned that another generation of people are still being unwittingly exposed to asbestos in schools and offices. We are told that asbestos in buildings is safe as long as it’s not disturbed but I fear that in forty years time people will still be developing mesothelioma from asbestos exposure which is still happening in workplaces and schools today.”

He added: “I decided to claim compensation because I wanted to make sure that my wife is financially secure after my death. We have been able to pay off the mortgage and it is a great relief to know that she will be provided for and that we can enjoy what time we still have together.”

Mesothelioma claim settled within client's lifetime

Helen Jones from Thompsons Solicitors said: “We are pleased we have been able to conclude this claim successfully on behalf of this client. Within weeks I obtained a substantial interim payment for him which helped ease the financial burden at a time when his illness forced the closure of his business. The compensation has also allowed him to marry his long term partner in an unforgettable ceremony in the Caribbean.

“It was vitally important for him to know his family will now be financially secure and a great relief that his claim has been settled efficiently within his lifetime.”