Crewe Mayor, Peggy Martin, has spoken of the loss of her husband, Bill, after he died from asbestos related disease last year.

Mrs Martin, who became Crewe Mayor earlier this year, has received compensation from Bill’s former employers’ insurers after he died from asbestos related lung cancer.

Bill, aged 70, was exposed to deadly asbestos dust whilst working for British Rail at Crewe Works from1956 to 1988.

He started out as a 15-year-old apprentice fitter and turner and was exposed to asbestos on a daily basis. After leaving the Crewe Works he became a steward at Coppenhall Working Men’s Club and was later secretary of the club until January 2011.

Mrs Martin, who has nominated Dave Willcocks Asbestos Support and Information Group as one of her charities in her mayoral year, said her husband was devastated when he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Asbestos compensation specialists Thompsons Solicitors investigated claim

He contacted his trade union, Unite, which instructed asbestos compensation specialists Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim.

Mrs Martin continued the claim on his behalf after he died in August 2011.

She said: “Bill was always a fit and healthy man. He loved life and especially spending time with our six grandchildren. When he was diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer he was distraught. The illness meant he could no longer take part in the hobbies he loved and he couldn’t play with the grandchildren.

“As the disease took hold he decided to look into claiming compensation. He knew that he’d been exposed to asbestos during his working life and felt strongly that more should have been done to protect the workers.

“He wanted me to continue the claim on his behalf and I know he’d be pleased with the final outcome and the work that Unite and Thompsons Solicitors has carried out on behalf of the family.”

She added: “I feel privileged to be Mayor of Crewe. I intend this year to raise the profile of asbestos related diseases for the thousands of local people who were exposed to asbestos at the Crewe railway works and in other industries.”

Developed asbestos related disease as a result of employment

Paul Finegan, Unite North West Regional Secretary added: “Mr Martin is sadly one of many of our members who developed asbestos related disease as a result of employment at the Crewe Works. He was just 15-years-old when he started there but was never given any warning or any protection from the risk of the devastating effect his job would have on his health later in life.”

Joanne Keen from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Mr Martin was a brave man who fought a determined battle not to let his condition affect his zest for life.

“Mrs Martin knows first hand the cruel devastation of asbestos disease. We are proud to support the efforts during her mayoral year to raise awareness about this important issue which has blighted the lives of so many families in Crewe.”