Call us:  0800 0 224 224

Our claims services

Contact us today

Call us free on

0800 0 224 224

Email us at

Contact one of our offices

Find your local office

Mesothelioma client

Alan's story

In an inspirational and cautionary tale, Alan Turner, a former chemistry teacher now 83, has bravely come forward with his story of confronting mesothelioma—a devastating cancer predominantly caused by asbestos exposure. His journey from diagnosis to securing a significant £180,000 compensation from Devon County Council serves as a beacon of hope and a stark warning about the lurking dangers of asbestos in educational environments.

Starting his career in education as a lab technician at 16 and retiring in 2000, Alan spent decades nurturing young minds across the United Kingdom. His long tenure at Dawlish Secondary Modern School between 1975 and 1997 brought him into direct contact with asbestos, unknowingly putting his health at risk. Asbestos fibers, found in everyday school equipment like Bunsen burner gauzes and notice boards, were a silent threat that Alan, like many others, was not warned against.

Speaking of his illness and the impact that it has had on his life, Mr Turner said that while he hoped that no one else should suffer as he has, he has chosen to speak out so that others know how to get help if they need it. 

He said: “My asbestos exposure took place decades ago, but it was not until 2020 that I realised something was wrong. I was suffering from terrible breathlessness, so I went to my GP, who sent me on for a scan at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.” 

At this time, Mr Turner was diagnosed with fluid on his lungs and pleural thickening – a lung disease that affects the lining of the lungs. He underwent medical treatment, but sadly, his condition continued to deteriorate. In January 2023, he received the diagnosis of mesothelioma. 

Mr Turner said: “The impact of his illness has had a devastating impact on my life, making it difficult for me to do chores around the house and I have been forced to give up playing table tennis for my local community team and riding my bike.”  

The absence of protective measures or awareness about asbestos exposure's risks left Alan vulnerable. It was only after being diagnosed with mesothelioma that he sought the expertise of Thompsons Solicitors, a firm specialising in industrial diseases, which led to a £180,000 compensation deal with Devon County Council. This compensation package is not just a financial relief but a gateway to essential treatments and care that significantly improve Alan's quality of life.

Alan's narrative is not just a personal account of facing a life-altering diagnosis but also a critical reminder of the need for vigilance and advocacy for safety in educational settings. His experience highlights the importance of seeking knowledgeable legal support in navigating the complexities of industrial disease claims.

Nick Seymour, an industrial disease lawyer at Thompsons Solicitors, said 

“Sadly, Mr Turner’s case stands as a stark reminder of the latent dangers that asbestos poses in educational environments and the need for the government to take action to ensure that both teachers and pupils are safe moving forward. 

“While the compensation cannot reverse the diagnosis, it ensures he can access critical treatments and care which will make a considerable difference to his quality of life.” 

Through sharing his story, Alan hopes to inform and support others who might be facing similar challenges, emphasising the importance of legal recourse and the difference it can make in accessing vital care and treatment.

Alan said

“The mesothelioma diagnosis was a huge shock, it’s hard to imagine that something like this could happen to you and to find out further down the line that my illness could have been prevented has been very difficult to come to terms with. 

“Thankfully, my wife Jane has been an absolute brick. I couldn’t have coped without her. I get exhausted quickly and don’t walk very far or fast. I haven’t got the push to do everyday things like I used to. Jane also has to cope with my mood swings, and I am very grateful to her. 

“It’s sad to think that our retirement together has been so badly impacted as a result of my condition, although thanks to the hard work of my legal team, I am very grateful to have access to therapies that help considerably. 

“I really hope no one else has to suffer as we have moving forward, but if anyone also finds themselves in the same boat it’s important that they know that there is help out there if they need it.” 

“I really hope no one else has to suffer as we have moving forward, but if anyone also finds themselves in the same boat it’s important that they know that there is help out there if they need it.”


Alan Turner
Alan Turner, our mesothelioma client