Family of former mill worker who died from asbestos-related cancer win battle for compensation
THE family of a former mill worker who died from an aggressive asbestos-related cancer have succeeded in their legal battle for compensation – thanks to help from Sentinel readers.
Margaret Windsor, aged 73, from Clayton was given the heartbreaking news that she was suffering from mesothelioma in February 2009 and lost her fight for life less than three months later.
Her husband Roy has now reached an out-of-court settlement with the insurers of Enderley Mills, Newcastle.
He was able to prove his case after Sentinel readers got in touch to back claims about the working conditions at the now-closed textile factory where Margaret worked as a buttonholer between 1951 and 1979.
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Widower Mr Windsor, who met his wife while working at the mill, said: "I cannot thank Margaret's former workmates enough. I've been overwhelmed by their willingness to come forward and help.
"Enderley Mills was a really dusty place to work in and you could even see asbestos fibres in the air.
"Margaret and I had been married for over 50 years and to lose her so suddenly had a devastating effect on our whole family.
"She just became ill so quickly, but even in that short time she suffered a great deal.
"She shouldn't have had to suffer like this just because she was unlucky enough to work in a deadly environment."
Enderley Mills's insurers, who defended the case, settled out of court without formally admitting liability.
Mr Windsor declined to reveal how much he received.
But in 2002, Henry Hassall accepted a £95,000 settlement from factory owners Compton, Sons and Webb, following the death of wife Iris from mesothelioma, in 1997.
Mrs Hassall, formerly of Clayton, worked as a machinist at Enderley Mills from 1951 to 1957.
Iain Shoolbred, an asbestos expert from Irwin Mitchell, who represented Mr Windsor, said: "We knew that Margaret was in constant contact with asbestos because the deadly dust was present in the pipes, the roof and the presses that were used on the clothes.
"However, as Margaret died less than three months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, she was unable to provide us with information which we needed to take her family's case forward.
"We knew the key to solving the case lay with former Enderley Mills workers who held crucial information about working practices there and, thanks to an appeal in The Sentinel back in 2010, we received a large number of offers of assistance from former workers who were all able to recall working practices at the firm, which has since ceased trading.
"It just goes to show the power of the local press and the close ties former Enderley employees still share."
Symptoms of mesothelioma can take more than 20 years to emerge after the initial exposure.