A former union official who was first exposed to asbestos when he was just 16 years old has received substantial compensation after developing mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs.

Dennis Jones, 82, from Crewe in Cheshire, was exposed to asbestos whilst working as an apprentice for Crewe Locomotive Works from 1945.

Mr Jones, who went on to become a full-time union official for Amicus, now part of Unite the Union. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July this year after attending his GP complaining of breathlessness.

There is no cure for mesothelioma, which can take decades to develop. It is only caused by exposure to asbestos.

The grandfather of six and great grandfather of one said he knew immediately that his illness had been caused by his work as a teenager.

Thompsons Solicitors obtained compensation in under five months

Following his diagnosis he contacted Unite which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation. Thompsons successfully finalised the claim in under five months.

Mr Jones said: “I was shocked and devastated when I was given the news. Many of my former workmates have passed away from asbestos related disease.

“As a retired trade union official I thought of the union first when deciding where to turn for advice. I decided to claim compensation so that my wife is provided for in the future. I was impressed with how quickly everything was managed.”

Paul Finegan, regional secretary at Unite added: “Unite stepped in immediately to help this long-standing member and former official in his time of need. Sadly too many of our members suffer as a result of their negligent exposure to asbestos in the workplace. The union’s free legal service is available to all our current and retired members who develop asbestos related illness.”

Joanne Keen from Thompsons Solicitors added: “We have built up specialist experience over decades from dealing with claims against British Rail’s Crewe Works. Our expertise enables us to handle claims with maximum efficiency so that clients like Mr Jones and his family benefit from the compensation, and the financial security it brings, as quickly as possible and at no cost. By contacting his union the claim process began immediately and was finalised within 5 months.”