The family of a Tyneside man who believe he was exposed to asbestos while working at a cigarette factory in Newcastle are calling for his former work colleagues to come forward.

Raymond Irving, died aged 57 in August 2008, after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and there is no cure.

Exposed to asbestos at WD & HO Wills cigarette factory on the Coast Road, Newcastle

It’s believed that Raymond, who left behind three children and three grandchildren, was exposed to asbestos while working as a machine setter at the WD & HO Wills cigarette factory on the Coast Road, Newcastle.

Raymond was originally from Carlisle but moved to North Shields in 1973 with his wife Elizabeth. He worked for the Wills factory from 1973 to 1978.

He was diagnosed with mesothelioma after attending his doctor who sent him for an x-ray which showed he had fluid on his lungs. He was diagnosed with the terminal illness in November 2007.

Following his death Elizabeth contacted asbestos claims experts Thompsons Solicitors for advice about claiming compensation.

Thompsons Solicitors want to hear from anyone who worked at WD & HO Wills during the 1970’s

Elizabeth would like anyone who worked for WD & HO Wills during the 1970’s to contact Thompsons. They are interested in any information about the presence of asbestos in the working environment or hearing from anyone who may recall working alongside Raymond.

Elizabeth said: “My husband was my life and it is so cruel that he died from this terrible disease at such a young age. He and I had looked forward to his retirement so much, all for nothing.

“I would urge anyone who worked with Raymond to come forward with any information they might have.”

Gill Connelly of Thompsons Solicitors, added: “Mesothelioma is a devastating disease caused only by exposure to asbestos.

“It is important that we trace Raymond Irving’s former workmates so we can build up an accurate description of his working conditions at the WD &HO Wills factory.”

Anyone who has any information should contact Gill Connelly on 08000 224224.