The widow of a Portsmouth coppersmith has received a substantial six-figure compensation payment after her husband was exposed to asbestos.

Freda Martin, 65, was awarded the damages after Albert died from the devastating cancer mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. There is no cure for the disease which is often diagnosed decades after the initial exposure.

Albert, who is survived by three children and three grandchildren, was diagnosed with the cancer in October 2006 and died aged 66 in August this year.

The couple migrated to Florida just a year before his diagnosis, hoping to enjoy a long retirement in the States.

Exposed to asbestos at shipyard and dockyard

Albert was exposed to asbestos as an apprentice coppersmith with HM Dockyard and later with Vosper Thornycroft shipyard, both in Portsmouth.

At both shipyards he dealt with asbestos on a daily basis but was never warned of the dangers of using asbestos until the mid 1970s.

Freda said it was important to Albert to claim compensation to provide for his family.

She said: “Albert was so excited to move out to Florida. It was the start of our retirement and we had so much life to live.

“He had one good year before he started to be sick. He was shocked when he found out he had mesothelioma but he said: ‘I am not ready yet. We will have some good times first’.

“He was determined that I would receive what he felt I was entitled to. He would be pleased to know we have been compensated.”

She added: “They did not know then the risks of asbestos. It is lethal. It is not just the disease itself, which is bad enough. It is what comes with it. He could not breathe and he had trouble walking. He was only 66 and had his retirement to look forward to.”

Asbestos Victims should obtain proper compensation

Gill Connelly from Thompsons Solicitors who dealt with Albert’s claim, said: “It is important asbestos victims and their family members obtain proper compensation from the insurers of the companies who caused the disease.

“In the past many employers failed to take the necessary safeguards to protect workers from the effects of asbestos dust and now families are paying the price.

“As specialists we achieve the best possible results for clients. Every family affected by mesothelioma would rather have their loved ones by their sides than compensation. However, without adequate compensation, families affected by this dreadful disease often struggle to cope financially.”