A wife has described the heartache of knowing her husband could die any day from an aggressive cancer caused by his exposure to asbestos at work decades earlier.
Doctors delivered the devastating news that father-of-five Raymond Webber, 62, had less than 12 months to live in April, last year.
Speaking after winning asbestos compensation from her husband’s former employer, Tina, 59, spoke about the torment of waking up each morning fearing it might be his last. She said, “It’s heart-breaking to know your husband is planning his own funeral.
"When we first got the asbestos diagnosis there was almost a sense of relief that we finally knew what was wrong and we had some timeframe to plan around. But knowing he’s living on borrowed time is a great strain.
"I wake up wondering if today might be his last. When he’s having a really bad day and he’s off his food and doesn’t want to drink, you fear this might be the end.
"We used to go on holiday together, stay away at weekends. But this illness has stripped him of his strength. He’s lost two stone in the last couple of weeks."
Mr Webber of Blackpool, Lancashire had now been awarded a significant amount of asbestos compensation against the London Pensions Fund Authority.
The grandfather worked had been a joiner between 1974 & 1978, maintaining and refurbishing local authority properties across London, including in Camberwell, Oval and Bethnal Green; for what was then known as the Greater London Council.
As part of his work he was expected to cut asbestos sheets to size using a hand saw. The workplace atmosphere was thick with deadly asbestos dust. The tradesmen dry swept the piles of asbestos dust which gathered on the work surfaces and floors, without being provided any breathing equipment.
The couple, who have been married for 29 years, moved from their home in south Wimbledon, London, 30 years ago to set up a guesthouse in Blackpool which they ran for 17 years.
Mr Webber developed a persistent cough just after Christmas, 2012. The CT scan revealed the fatal asbestos disease Mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos fibres in the lungs.
Mrs Webber, a kitchen assistant at a local hospital, added, “It’s infuriating to think that my husband has been given a death sentence all because he worked hard and did an honest day’s living. Raymond is very bitter. He feels betrayed. He wasn’t warned about how dangerous the work was.
"He would come home covered in asbestos dust and I’d clean his overalls. I daren’t think about what I’ve breathed in over the years."
Slater and Gordon Asbestos and Mesothelioma claims Lawyer Louise Larkin, who successfully represented Mr Webber said, “The dangers posed by working with asbestos were well known at the time. Unfortunately Mr Webber was given no warning of the hazards nor provided with adequate protection whilst still expected to come into daily contact with such hazardous materials. Just a short exposure to asbestos dust can be enough to cause cancer.
"At a time when Mr & Mrs Webber should be preparing for a long and happy retirement, they are confronting this appalling illness. There is a deadly legacy from the use of asbestos decades ago, the true horror of which is only now being realised.
"This Mesothelioma case should serve as a reminder that even if the exposure to asbestos occurred decades ago, Justice can still be achieved."
Louise Larkin is an Asbestos and Mesothelioma claims Lawyer at Slater and Gordon in Liverpool.
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