Exposed to asbestos while working

The family of a woman who died from asbestos related mesothelioma has won a six-year battle for compensation.

Martha May Charlson, 64, died in June 2002 from the devastating cancer of the lining of the lung, after she was exposed to asbestos while working for notorious asbestos manufacturers Turner and Newall.

Martha worked as a winder for Turner Brothers Asbestos Company Limited at their Rochdale site, where they made asbestos-treated cloth and other materials.

She started working for the company at just 16 and her job involved working with asbestos-treated yarn. She was later transferred to Turner Brother’s Hindley Green site where she also worked with asbestos.

Mesothelioma victim died before receiving compensation

Martha died while waiting for compensation from Turner and Newall’s administrators but her family is now relieved their long fight is now over after they were awarded a five figure sum in compensation.

Her daughter, Louise Keefe, 39, said: “My mum died while waiting for this compensation. She knew she would not see the money in her lifetime but it was important to her to fight for a sense of justice. She felt very angry that she had worked with such a dangerous substance but had never been warned about the consequences.”

All compensation claims against the company, which provided employment for thousands of families in the North West, were frozen in 2001 after T&N went into administration in the UK.

Claims were suspended while administrators reached agreement with T&N’s insurers and parent company Federal Mogul.

Claims are now paid by a Trust set up by the administrators after the High Court approved a deal which allowed claimants to receive a share of their entitled awards.

No protection from the asbestos dust was provided

Martha was diagnosed with mesothelioma in Februrary 2002. Before she died she remembered the conditions she worked in at the factory.

She said: “I clearly remember silver bits from the asbestos yarns sticking on my hands as I pulled the yarn from one bobbin to another. The yarn was quite thin and felt like wool.

“The dust given off when the yarn was being unravelled went everywhere, in my hair, up my nose, my hands and on my clothes and all over the floor.

“There was no protection provided. There were no extractors in the department where I worked.

“I was never warned of the dangers of breathing in asbestos dust. Looking back I wondered why the company used to pay so well compared to other employers in the area.”

Mesothelioma victim became ill because of her work

Martha had twin daughters, Louise and Paula, and four grandchildren.

Louise said: “My mum retired on Saturday and became ill on the Sunday. She did not get a retirement and she was very angry about that – we all still are. She became ill because of her work. At the time she was on good money, but when she realised she was ill she said it was danger money.”

Thompsons Solicitors represented Martha’s family. Client representative Steven Dickens, said: “We have been engaged in one of the longest running and most difficult battles to obtain compensation for people who are suffering or have died from asbestos-related disease.

“I am glad that for Mrs Charlson’s family the struggle is now over. It was a matter of principle for us to stand by the family and see this through from start to finish.”

This story was also published by The Manchester Evening News.