Tony Walder had worked as a carpenter since he was 15. He worked for Kier Limited at Kingsnorth Power Station in the 1960s. During this time laggers were mixing up asbestos powder to make the insulation plaster that they applied to large areas of pipes and other parts of the power station. The asbestos from their work hung around in the air exposing Tony and others to asbestos. He later worked for George Wimpey Limited on the Stanhope Housing estate in Ashford, Kent where he cut asbestos for the soffits of the houses and was exposed to asbestos from that. He was never given any form of protective equipment or warnings about the dangers of asbestos dust.
He noticed problems with his breathing in December 2012 and was referred to the Medway Maritime Hospital where they drained a large amount of fluid from his lung. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in April 2013. He had chemotherapy but sadly deteriorated, losing weight and suffering considerable pain. He was unable to play with his grandchildren which upset him. His sister looked after him at home until he passed away in March 2014.
Prior to his illness he was an extremely fit and active man who would frequently take part in sponsored half marathons and cycle on behalf of charities such as the NSPCC. He was also a keen diver and boater and had built his own boat. He was a staunch supporter in campaigns to end animal cruelty. He had also helped his sister to run a boarding cattery and animal sanctuary on the Isle of Sheppey.
The former employers denied liability and it was not possible to complete the claim during Tony's lifetime. Court proceedings were issued and the claim was carried on by his sister. It was successfully settled the day before the court hearing date.
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