The 71-year-old from Cramlington, was exposed to asbestos while working as a 15-year-old boy labourer and then as an apprentice joiner at the Walker Naval Yard in Newcastle.

He was awarded compensation after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by exposure to asbestos.

There is no cure for the disease and sufferers often have just months to live following diagnosis.

Thompsons Solicitors have offices in Newcastle

Asbestos claims specialists Thompsons Solicitors who have offices in Newcastle fought the case for compensation on his behalf.

The claim was successfully concluded in just 30 weeks from start to finish.

The dad of three and granddad of three was exposed to asbestos used by shipyard contractors whilst he worked on the yard.

He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2011 after going to his doctor about breathlessness.

Mesothelioma sufferers and their families can be entitled to compensation

He said he had no idea the asbestos was dangerous. It was just part of normal working life.

He added: “Throughout my time in the shipyard, I was never given any warnings about the dangers of working with asbestos. Back then there wasn’t a great deal of awareness about health and safety and we just got on with our jobs. Then last year I became ill very quickly. It came out of the blue when I was diagnosed with mesothelioma. It was the last thing I was expecting.

“It’s a great relief to know that my claim has now settled. It cannot change my situation but at least I know my wife will be looked after.”

Andrew Venn, from Thompsons Solicitors said: “In the past many employers failed to take the necessary safeguards to protect workers from asbestos. This legacy of neglect has left thousands of families suffering the devastating consequences.

“As this case shows, mesothelioma sufferers and their family members can be entitled to compensation from the insurers of the employers who caused the disease – and by contacting specialist lawyers claims can often be dealt with quickly and efficiently - at no cost to the client.”