Diana Gregory, previously Fox, 77, believes she was exposed to asbestos while working for Drypool Engineering & Dry Dock Company Limited at Beverley East Yorkshire Shipyard between 1973 and 1975. During her time there, she would often come into contact with men who worked on the shipyard in the canteen, or on work-related visits to the docks.


Diana Gregory said: “Our canteen served the offices and men from the dockyard. At the time, we didn’t think much of it, but looking back their overalls were often covered in dirt and dust, which may have included asbestos dust.”

Diana started suffering with blackouts and breathlessness in June 2021. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma just two months later. By September, she had spent several weeks in hospital, having a series of urgent operations.

A woman smiling
Diana Gregory in the 70s

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining of the body's organs, commonly the lungs, which is usually linked to asbestos exposure. It can often take decades for symptoms to develop after exposure. According to the Health and Safety Executive, there were 2,544 mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain in 2020, a rise of six per cent compared with 2019.

Diana Gregory added: “In November 2021, I moved back to Yorkshire to be close to family, so that I could get more support. My son had to take out a mortgage on a ground-floor flat, so we have somewhere to live without stairs. It’s been hugely stressful. Since I was diagnosed, I have struggled with blackouts, breathlessness and chest pain, which limits what I can do. Most nights I can’t sleep, I’ve lost a lot of weight and been constantly ill with a series of health and stress related problems.”

Shipyard work has become well known as a high-risk occupation for asbestos exposure. Geographical areas of the UK with the highest mortality rates tend to be those known to contain large industrial sites such as shipyards.

Diana has enlisted Thompsons Solicitors to help with her claim. The legal experts have supported thousands of families suffering from asbestos diseases over the decades.

Charlie Bradley of Thompsons Solicitors’ Leeds office, who is supporting Mrs Gregory with her claim, said: “Mesothelioma is a fatal form of asbestos-related cancer that can take decades to develop from the smallest level of exposure to asbestos. There is no safe level of exposure. While men are typically considered to be more at-risk of developing the disease, as exposure often occurred in male-dominated industries such as manufacturing and construction, this toxic substance has left a legacy for women as well, not just as grieving widows, sisters, daughters and friends – but also as victims of asbestos-related disease.

“We would be hugely grateful to any of Diana’s former colleagues who can come forward and help us understand when and how exposure at Beverley Shipyard might have occurred. Without this information, Diana will not be able to claim any compensation to help cover her care.”

Anyone with further information should contact Charlie Bradley on 0113 205 6385 or CharlieBradley@thompsons.law.co.uk.