A member of the trade union UNITE who is suffering from asbestos related cancer has received substantial compensation following help from Thompsons Solicitors.

Graham Dancer, 63, from Barnstaple, Devon has received the damages after being diagnosed with the fatal asbestos cancer mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos while working for Selkirk Flue Limited, now owned by Powrmatic.

He worked for the chimney manufacturer, based in Pottington Trading Estate Barnstaple, from 1969 until he was diagnosed with the disease in 2007.

He was exposed to asbestos on a daily basis in the early years of his employment. He started work in the warehouse where pipes insulated with asbestos were brought into the factory. He later moved to the production department where he applied asbestos to pipes.

He remembered: “There was so much asbestos dust that you could see a thick layer of it on your tool box. You could also see it floating in the air. My overalls and hair would be covered in it.”

Just months to live after mesothelioma diagnosis

Mr Dancer, who has a wife, Wendy, and no children, was told by doctors he has just months to live. He has retired and said he is now taking each day as it comes.

There is no cure for mesothelioma which is caused only by asbestos.

Following his diagnosis Mr Dancer contacted his union, UNITE, which instructed asbestos claims experts Thompsons Solicitors to advise him about compensation.

The claim was settled out of court within 17 months.

Mr Dancer said: “I was told by the hospital that there was nothing they could do for me but the union put me in touch with Thompsons Solicitors who have dealt with me with compassion and efficiency.

“I am relieved that my case has been resolved so quickly. I can now get on and enjoy the time I have left.”

Exposed to dangerous asbestos dust by negligent employers

Lawrence Faircloth from UNITE added: “Asbestos has affected the lives of many of our members who were unwittingly exposed to the dangerous dust by negligent employers.

“We are pleased to have supported this member with his claim for compensation. The swift settlement means he can enjoy peace of mind that his family will be provided for in the future.”

Amanda Jones from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Mesothelioma is a devastating disease caused by exposure to asbestos. It was our aim to enable Mr Dancer to receive compensation during his lifetime which is what he wanted. While it will not bring back his health we understand the importance to him of knowing that his wife is financially secure and that the formalities of the claim have been resolved quickly and successfully. The backing of his union was instrumental in bringing about the successful conclusion of the claim within his lifetime.”