A former Unite union member has received £120,000 in compensation after he was exposed to asbestos in the workplace.

Lionel Waldridge, 78, from Ipswich, was awarded the damages from energy firm EON Plc after he was diagnosed with fatal cancer of the lining of the lung, mesothelioma.

There is no cure for mesothelioma which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Lionel was exposed to the dangerous dust while working as a maintenance fitter at Cliff Quay Power Station in Ipswich during the 1960s.

The granddad of four remembered working in thick dust in high temperatures but was never warned that his health may be at risk.

Diagnosed with mesothelioma

He said when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma it was a shock.

He said: “We did not know anything about mesothelioma. When we were told what it was it was like being given a death sentence.

“I had no idea when I was working with asbestos that it would lead to this. I thought the dust was just a nuisance rather than a hazard.”

Lionel, who enjoys sailing with his family, said he decided to get in touch with his union, Unite, for help to pursue compensation.

He said obtaining compensation was important to him: “I feel like they have robbed the children and my wife of me. My father lived until he was 96 and I thought I was going to as well.

“I was fit and we led an active life until I became ill. The money does not make up for everything we have lost, but it does give us a sense of justice.”

Victims of asbestos related disease

Unite’s South East Regional Secretary Jennie Bremner said: “We are pleased we have been able to resolve this case to our member’s satisfaction. Mesothelioma has affected the lives of so many of our members who were exposed to asbestos through doing a hard day’s work .

“Unite will continue to fight on behalf of its current and retired members who are suffering from asbestos related disease to ensure they are fully compensated.”

Thompsons Solicitors fought Lionel’s case on behalf of Unite. Client representative for Thompsons Ann-Marie Wilson added: “Mesothelioma is a devastating disease for all involved. 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 their workers from the effects of asbestos dust and now people like Lionel and his family are paying the price.

“It was important to Lionel that his claim was dealt with quickly during his lifetime so that he knew his family would be provided for financially.”