Double tragedy for asbestos cancer victim

An asbestos cancer sufferer whose first wife died from the same disease has received compensation from his former employers.
Roland Lakin, 70, from Chorley in Lancashire was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July 2009.

There is no cure for mesothelioma, a type of cancer of the lining of the lung and stomach, which is caused by exposure to asbestos. The disease develops decades after the asbestos exposure and sufferers often have just months to live following diagnosis.

Mr Lakin, who is originally from Birmingham, knows only too well the devastating effects of mesothelioma after nursing his first wife, Thelma, through the disease until she died in 2006.

Exposed to asbestos working in an office block

She was exposed to asbestos working in an office block in Birmingham.

Mr Lakin, who has two children, worked for Darlington Insulation Limited on the construction of power stations in Drakelow and Radcliffe between 1964 and 1974 where he came into contact with asbestos.

Following Thelma’s death Mr Lakin remarried and settled in Lancashire with his wife Margaret. He first became unwell in April 2009 and a biopsy confirmed he had mesothelioma.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

He contacted his trade union, Unite, which instructed specialist asbestos lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons successfully concluded the claim in an out of court settlement for £169,000.

He said: “Having nursed my first wife through mesothelioma I am only too aware of what my future holds. I try hard not to think about the negatives and to enjoy what little time we now have left. Due to my experience with Thelma’s illness I was quick to react when I first became ill. This has allowed me to receive treatment which I hope will help keep the disease at bay.

“It was a terrible shock to be told I had mesothelioma and difficult to believe that we could both be struck down with it within a matter of years of each other.”

Paul Finegan, Unite North West Regional Secretary said: “It is heartbreaking that Mr Lakin and his first wife both developed mesothelioma. They worked in completely different occupations showing how indiscriminate and lethal asbestos is across all sectors of employment.”

Steven Dickens from Thompsons Solicitors added: “I am pleased to have been able to help Mr Lakin pursue his claim for compensation to a successful outcome within his lifetime. Having cared for his first wife through her illness he knows how precious time is and was determined to make sure his family was provided for financially in the future. With the support of his union’s legal service I have been able to bring his case to a swift conclusion.

This news story was also published by Lancashire Telegraph.