The widow of a construction worker who was killed by mesothelioma – an asbestos-related lung cancer – has asked his former colleagues to share their memories of the working conditions for bricklayers in Carlisle.

Mary Stewart’s husband John died at home on June 19, 2020, just seven days after his diagnosis.

An inquest hearing at the Coroner’s Court in Cockermouth on September 14 by the senior coroner for Cumbria, Kally Cheema, concluded that John’s death was due to mesothelioma.

The illness can be caused by breathing in asbestos dust and fibres. It is believed that John, who was a bricklayer from age 15, could have been exposed to asbestos while working on building sites.

He had worked for Beck & Leslie – later known as Beck & Gibson – from 1963 to 1995, and Border Construction Ltd from 1995 to 2000.

Melanie Storey, Mary and John’s youngest daughter, said: “Dad was a bricklayer from the age of 15. Growing up I can remember he had a minivan that was always covered in dust and had that brick and cement smell.

“We had no idea that some of that dust could have been asbestos.”

The National Asbestos Helpline is supporting Mary, 82 and family to make an industrial disease compensation claim. John lived an active lifestyle and was healthy until encountering breathing problems in January 2020.

Melanie said “Dad always said that if he stopped doing things, that would be it. So, he always kept busy.

“He used to run half marathons and he continued to garden and do DIY.

“He made a grandfather clock, garages, rocking horses, tables, and a dolls house for my daughter.

“Right up until the January of last year he was always doing stuff. He never sat still.

"We didn’t know what mesothelioma was or that it was caused by breathing in asbestos.

"When we were told, we were upset and angry.

"It’s just sprung on you with no forewarning, and we had no idea how serious it was.”

The helpline has asked anyone who could have information to help the family to call National Asbestos Helpline on 0800 043 6635.

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