In January 2024, Mr. David Nicholson, 71, from Hartlepool, was diagnosed with mesothelioma – an incurable cancer typically associated with asbestos exposure in the workplace, which often happens decades before symptoms arise. 

Before his illness, Mr. Nicholson had lived an independent life. However, his condition has deteriorated quickly, and he now experiences constant pain and fatigue, meaning he relies heavily on his wife, Linda, to support him with day-to-day tasks.  

Following his diagnosis, and in an effort to determine when and where he was exposed to asbestos during his employment, the retired father of two has now instructed industrial disease experts at Thompsons Solicitors through his union membership with Unite. 

His legal team are now looking to speak to anyone who worked with, or alongside him, throughout his career, and are particularly keen to speak to colleagues who worked for a pipefitting contractor called Capper Pipe Service Company Limited, or on the construction of the British Titan Products tioxide plant in Greatham, between 1970 and 1971. 


Whilst Mr Nicholson has held a number of jobs throughout his life, it is during this time that he worked as a pipefitter’s labourer, and that he recalls coming into direct contact with asbestos which was regularly used on the construction site as part of the pipefitting process.  

Recalling his time at Capper Pipe Service Company Limited he says that he remembers that the pipe laggers had used pre-formed sections of insulations which contained asbestos and were cut to size with a hand saw, resulting in clouds of dust circulating in the air.  

He also recalls that bags of asbestos powder were tipped into a drum, with water added to create a plaster that was spread over the top of the preformed sections of pipe.  

Commenting on his exposure and his diagnosis he said: “My diagnosis came as a complete shock. The doctors initially thought it was something completely different, and it wasn’t until they went to drain some fluid from my lungs that they realised I had mesothelioma.  

“It has sunk in now, but I have up and down days. It has had such a big impact on what I can do. I am tired and in pain all the time, even when I am not having treatment.  

“It makes me so angry to think that I have developed an asbestos related disease through no fault of my own.” 

Commenting on his work history, he added: “I have worked all over the place over the years so it would be helpful if anyone who recalls working with me could come forward. However, I distinctly remember coming into contact with asbestos when I was just 18 or 19 working for Capper Pipe Service Company Limited as a pipefitter’s labourer. 

“At that time, I was exclusively based at the British Titan Products chemical plant in Greatham which was only partially operational at the time with construction work still taking place. I remember that the pipes that were being fitted were insulated with asbestos, and there was always dust visible in the air. Like when you get the sunshine coming through you see dust twinkling in the rays of sun.  

“The plant is not far from the sea, so when working outdoors asbestos would blow around in the wind. I would imagine anyone who worked there at the same time will remember.” 

Gill Connelly, an industrial disease expert at Thompsons Solicitors who is representing Mr Nicholson, said: “Mr Nicholson’s case highlights the tragic consequences of occupational asbestos exposure, which many workers across the Northeast unknowingly faced during the course of their employment. 

“We would welcome any information that any of his former colleagues at Capper Pipe Service Company Limited, or anyone who worked alongside him during his time at the chemical plant Anyone with information about the asbestos use at these sites can make a significant difference in our pursuit of justice for David."  

For further information or to provide details that might assist in Mr Nicholson’s case, please contact Gill Connelly at Thompsons Solicitors on 0191 2690453 or email