A former electrician's mate who worked on the UK's first nuclear submarine has been awarded a six-figure sum in compensation.

Ken McDonald, 67, from Barrow has devastating cancer mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos while working at Vickers shipyard in Barrow.

Great granddad Ken was an electrician's mate and worked on HMS Dreadnought, the British Navy's first nuclear powered submarine during 1961 to 1963.

Ken, who went on to work in financial services, said he used to carry bags of asbestos for the electricians to use when lagging pipes on the sub. He would come home covered in asbestos dust but had no idea it could harm him.

Diagnosed with Mesothelioma

He was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which has no cure, in October 2006.

Ken was awarded the compensation after contacting the Barrow Asbestos Related Disease Support group (BARDS) who put him in touch with his former union, the GMB and their legal experts Thompsons Solicitors.

He said: "When I was diagnosed with mesothelioma I was not surprised but it was a tremendous shock.

"I am relieved to have received this compensation but I would rather have my health back. At least now I know that my wife and family will be provided for.

"The work that has been done by the GMB and Thompsons just shows how important it is to join a union. I was when I worked at Vickers. Now, decades later they have helped me. People should be in a union as you never know when you will need their help."

Regional secretary of the GMB Northern, Tom Brennan said: "I am pleased we have been able to win compensation for Mr McDonald during what is a difficult time for him and his family.

"The GMB has helped hundreds of its members to claim compensation in asbestos cases. It shows how the union can help at the most unexpected times."

Client representative at Thompsons Solicitors, Andrew Venn added: "We are pleased we have finalised this case quickly so Mr McDonald can make use of the compensation. It is important that Mr McDonald knew his family would be financially secure."