Stephen Addison, 65, of Moor Gardens, North Shields, will receive a five figure sum on behalf of the family after they pursued compensation through Amicus’ free legal help scheme.

Stephen Addison (senior) worked on a number of shipyards on the River Tyne from 1939 until 1960s where he was exposed to the dangerous dust asbestos.

Mr Addison died in May 2005, aged 89, after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by exposure to asbestos, earlier that year.

The granddad of five and great granddad of six, from North Shields, worked in a number of Tyneside yards including Smith’s Docks, Wallsend Slipway and Vickers Naval yard.

A trained marine engine fitter, he was involved in building some of the Tyne’s greatest ships including the Ocean Monarch, HMS Illustrious and HMS Glasgow.

His working day included using asbestos laden lagging and he once recalled fellow workers throwing asbestos dust like snow.

His son, Stephen, said: "My dad worked in every yard on the river as did many shipyard workers at the time. He would return home from work covered in asbestos dust and at the time he did not realise it would lead to ill health in the future".

"Over the years he had seen many of his friends die from mesothelioma".

"As a family we felt it was only right to claim compensation. He was made to work in those appalling conditions and we felt there should be justice for his death."

Regional Secretary of Amicus, Davey Hall said: "Many of our union members in the North East have suffered from asbestos-related illnesses and we work hard to ensure their employers take responsibility".

"We are pleased in this case that we have been able to claim compensation and gain justice for Mr Addison’s family."

Andrew Venn, from Thompsons Solicitors in Newcastle added: "Mesothelioma is diagnosed in many former shipyard workers who worked on a daily basis with asbestos dust. We are pleased to have worked with Amicus to make sure Mr Addison’s family are adequately compensated for his early death."

More than 2,000 people every year are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the UK. There is no known cure for the disease.