A family from Swindon has received £96,000 from British Rail following the death of a former employee who spent more than 40 years working for the company.

Valentine Thomas died in 2011, aged 88, having contracted mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, which was only discovered after his death.

It is believed he suffered from the disease after long-term exposure to asbestos at British Rail.

One of the jobs which carried the most risk of asbestos exposure was carriage fitting, which Valentine did frequently.

In the final years of his life, Valentine had to be nursed by his children and they have now been given £96,000 in compensation to cover the costs they incurred.

In addition to living with mesothelioma, Valentine suffered from deafness from his time in the rail works.

He started working for the railways in 1947 and held a number of different roles until his retirement in 1986.

A representative of the family said: “Mr Thomas was asked to strip locomotive boilers covered in asbestos. The workmen were expected to strip them out and were given no protection.

“Mr Thomas’ family were able to bring a claim as the Department Of Transport is covering claims for people who worked at British Rail in the past.

“However, even when employers cannot be traced or no insurance can be found, insurers have set up a scheme which means people can apply for compensation but only if they have been diagnosed after 1 July 2012.”

Valentine’s family are the latest to win compensation for of illnesses picked up as a result of working at the former rail works.

Mesothelioma is so prevalent in this region it has been dubbed the Swindon disease by residents.

If you or a family member have been affected by mesothelioma please contact us on 0800 294 3065, or talk to us on live chat where we will be able to answer any questions that you may have.