A woman who was exposed to asbestos while working for a clothes factory when she was a teenager has been awarded more than £135,000 in compensation.

Pauline Cade, 65, from Leeds was diagnosed with fatal cancer of the lining of the lung, mesothelioma, in March 2006.

The disease is caused by exposure to asbestos dust. Often patients have just a few months to live following diagnosis.

Pauline, who has no children and is married to Bill, 78, was exposed to asbestos while working as a junior clerk for Thomas Marshall (Marlbeck) Ltd, a clothing company in Leeds which made items for small drapers and department stores.

Mesothelioma Victim had to sweep asbestos from the floor

Asbestos was used in the factory on steam pipes and protective pads used to press the garments.

Pauline, who was only 16 at the time, said she remembered the asbestos would often fall from the ceiling.

She added that one of her jobs was to sweep the asbestos from the cellar floor.

She said: “I remember sweeping the cages out and coming out of the cellar covered from head to toe with dust. The dust used to get into my hair and clothes, and it used to make me cough.”

Diagnosed with Mesothelioma

When she was diagnosed she had not heard of mesothelioma.

She said: “I had no idea at all when the doctor told me. But they had warned me before that I may have lung cancer or heart disease. So when they told me about my condition it did not surprise me as I had prepared myself for the worst”

Following her diagnosis Pauline contacted the Riding Asbestos Support & Awareness Group (RASAG). She also approached asbestos claims specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, who obtained her compensation.

Pauline said: “It was never about the money. I wanted justice for my condition. I was so young when I worked there. It was a good job but I had no idea that it would lead me here.

“If it was a choice between the money and my health I would take my health any day.”

Increase in enquiries about asbestos related disease

Tom Carden from RASAG added: “Sadly Mrs Cade’s case is not unique. As an asbestos support group we are seeing a steady increase in the number of enquiries about asbestos related disease, with people having been diagnosed some thirty to forty years after their initial exposure.

“The passage of time often makes it difficult to pursue a claim. We therefore move as quickly as possible to ensure that all sufferers have access to the best advice and information, completely free of charge.”

Marion Voss, client representative at Thompsons Solicitors added: “We are pleased we have finalised this case quickly so Mrs Cade can make use of the compensation. It was important for her to know her husband would be financially secure in the future.”