Colin worked for the Ministry of Public Building Works (now the Department for Communities and Local Government) as a Technical Officer from 1969 until 1990

An essential part of his job was to  inspect plumbing installations in a wide variety of buildings such as post offices, sorting offices, telephone exchanges and government training centres. He also arranged and supervised the work being carried out.

In order to inspect the systems Colin had to access under floor and vertical service ducts and voids of suspended ceilings constructed using asbestolux. These areas often contained asbestos dust, which he could not help but inhale. He was also exposed to asbestos dust produced by the building work he was supervising.

Throughout Colin’s employment he was never provided with any equipment to protect against asbestos dust. No steps were taken to minimise the dust nor were any warnings given to him about the dangers of exposure to asbestos.

This was a particularly difficult case as Colin was faced with a very difficult decision about the basis on which he should settle his claim.  Due to his personal circumstances the claim had a higher value if his wife, Margaret, concluded the claim after he had died.  Colin bravely made the choice to put the future welfare of his wife and family first, choosing to allow the claim to be concluded after his death.  This meant that Colin himself only received a portion of the compensation, but he knew that his family would be looked after.

Jennifer Wood of We solicitors said ‘This case illustrates the terrible difficulties faced by Mesothelioma sufferers.  Not only do the sufferers have to face up to a terminal diagnosis and live each day knowing that time is short, but they have to make huge life changing decisions.

I would encourage all Defendants to take an enlightened viewpoint to agree to pay full damages during lifetime.  It would reduce the bill of legal costs, but, more importantly, it will allow sufferers to plan their estates and die with the reassurance of knowing that the compensation is already in a bank account and available for the future security of spouses and loved ones.

Colin and Margaret were extremely brave and dignified throughout the whole claim.  I have the upmost respect for both of them and how they made the hard decision together.  I know that Colin will be sadly missed by all who loved him.’

Mrs Harper wanted to add ‘once a diagnosis has been made, make every effort to find out exactly what help is available to you.  Talk to friends and family in order to help come to terms with such a difficult situation and as soon as you are receiving treatment, try to take each day as it comes as best you can.  Of course some days will be better than others but make the most of your life with family and friends, it will help you through.  Go for walks, eat delicious food, carry on enjoying all the things you normally do and you will gradually adapt to the changes in your lifestyle.’

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or any other asbestos related illness and would like to discuss making a claim, call our out of hours freephone number for friendly, confidential advice on 0800 294 3065,