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Rainham man lost his wife who contracted cancer from washing his work clothes

PUBLISHED: 10:00 19 March 2018

Leonard worked for the Cape Asbestos factory at Barking for 10 years, working every day with raw asbestos. Photo: Hamish Shah.

Leonard worked for the Cape Asbestos factory at Barking for 10 years, working every day with raw asbestos. Photo: Hamish Shah.

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An 83-year-old Rainham man who lost his wife after she contracted cancer from washing his work overalls, has secured a six-figure payout thanks to his solicitor.

Leonard with a picture of his wife Annette, who died from cancer that she contracted from washing his work overalls. Photo: Hamish Shah.Leonard with a picture of his wife Annette, who died from cancer that she contracted from washing his work overalls. Photo: Hamish Shah.

Leonard Faram worked for the Cape Asbestos factory at Barking for 10 years, working every day with raw asbestos. In 2015 his wife Annette died from mesothelioma that had developed as a result of washing her husband’s work clothes.

Leonard was a lighterman at the London Docks between 1959 and 1969, moving raw asbestos fibres from the ships to the factory.

In August 2012, Annette felt unwell and eventually went to A&E where she was found to have a serious build-up of fluid on her lung.

Leonard knew of some of the symptoms and mentioned to the doctors his previous work with asbestos.

Leonard and his solicitor Lorna from Thompsons Solicitors. Photo: Hamish Shah.Leonard and his solicitor Lorna from Thompsons Solicitors. Photo: Hamish Shah.

In November 2012 Annette was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Leonard said: “I worked day in, day out with bags of asbestos on the barges, and even in those days we workers were suspicious it was causing health problems but we were basically told we were making a fuss.

“I have known for many years that I am at risk of developing an asbestos related condition, however, I had never considered that my work could cause the premature death of my wife.

“Had it not been for my own personal knowledge about the dangers of asbestos, as someone who has seen far too many ex-colleagues develop mesothelioma many years after their work ceased, we would never have known what to do or where to go.”

He contacted Thompsons Solicitors after his wife’s diagnosis, and the firm helped secure a six-figure compensation sum for the couple before she died in 2015.

Lorna from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Annette and Leonard had no idea that mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases could be contracted through second-hand contact but it is a real and life-limiting reality for far too many families in Essex.

“In this case we were able to pursue a claim against a government organisation because of the employment Scheme Leonard worked under at the Docks.

“It is only because Leonard worked there so long that we were able to pursue a claim.”

“Currently the law – which is grossly unfair - only allows us to pursue claims for secondary exposure from overalls if that exposure happened after 1965.”

“This despite the fact that I know from the cases I see all the time that asbestos was used just as much, if not more, in the late 1950s and early 1960s.”

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