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Swindon widow receives £117,000 asbestos payout
A PENSIONER has received £117,000 in compensation from British Rail following the death of her husband from asbestos exposure in the latest case relating to former railway workers.
Kathleen Morgan brought the claim after her husband Kenneth died from a type of cancer called mesothelioma, which was caused by contact with the substance 70 years ago.
A post-mortem showed he did not develop the disease until 2010, aged 86.
He began to suffer health problems in June of that year and died in November.
The settlement was reached out of court with British Rail also agreeing to pay all legal costs.
Mrs Morgan, from Ferndale, was represented by Brigitte Chandler, a leading industrial disease lawyer and partner with Swindon law firm Charles Lucas and Marshall, who has fought for many hundreds of railway workers over the past 30 years.
She said: “It is important for people who worked on the railways to remain vigilant if they were exposed to asbestos.
“If they develop any sort of chest problems they should visit their GP.”
Mr Morgan was employed at the Swindon Railway Works from the age of 15, starting as an errand boy.
He then became an apprentice fitter, turner and erector, working in the notorious AE workshop where locomotives came in for maintenance and repair and where boilers were coated with thick asbestos.
Mrs Morgan, who belongs to the Swindon and South West Asbestos Support Group, was also employed at the works during the Second World War, heating rivets in the boiler shop where she was exposed to the substance.
Dozens of men and women from Swindon are dying every year from illnesses caused by exposure to the substance and the number of deaths has not yet reached its peak, experts warn.
Figures obtained by the Adver last year showed there were 107 fatalities in the previous three years alone. The South West is part of a wider timebomb which could claim up to 2,100 lives nationally per annum by its peak in 2016.
On Tuesday, an inquest was held at Salisbury Coroners’ Court into the death of 82-year-old Royston Smith, from Stratton, who died in November last year from exposure at the works.
Asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma – which take up to 60 years to develop – have been dubbed ‘Swindon disease’ because they are so rife in the town.
l Swindon and South West Asbestos Group is a regional charity which provides support groups and a free advice service to people suffering from asbestos disease and their families.
For more details, call 01793 532995 or email info@ asbestosgroup.co.u,k or visit www.asbestosgroup.co.uk