Thompsons Solicitors has helped the family of a former Unite member, who died of an asbestos-related disease, to recover substantial damages.

John Squirrell received the compensation on behalf of his dad who died from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. There is no cure for the disease which can take up to forty years or more to develop.

John’s dad, Noel Squirrell, sadly died in September 2007.

Exposed to asbestos as a labourer

He was exposed to asbestos as a labourer at power station premises in Ipswich from 1951 to 1955 and later at Cliff Quay Power Station where he worked until he left the company as a work study officer.

In his duties as a labourer he disposed of asbestos debris in grounds at the back of the power station. As a work study officer he monitored his work colleagues who used asbestos in their work.

He was never given any protection by his employers or warned about the dangers.

Noel, who died a widower, left six children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Family made claim for compensation

Following his dad’s death John pursued a claim for compensation. John also worked in Cliff Quay Power Station where he cleaned out boilers. He said he wanted to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos.

He contacted his trade union Unite which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim.

John, from Yoxford in Suffolk, said: “My dad died a particularly nasty death. Mesothelioma is a horrible disease and by claiming compensation I wanted to raise awareness to how dangerous asbestos is. When we worked at the power station we had no idea we were putting our lives at risk. No-one ever told us how dangerous asbestos was.”

Steve Hart from Unite said: “Mesothelioma has affected the lives of so many of our members who were exposed to asbestos through doing a hard day’s work. Even where the member has sadly died, the union will continue to support a claim by the family.”

Lorna Webster of Thompsons Solicitors added: “It is important mesothelioma sufferers obtain specialist legal advice. The disease is devastating not only on the person with the condition but also on the family who witness their loved one suffer such a painful and distressing illness. It is often important for the family to claim damages as a means of establishing liability for their sense of loss.”