Mesothelioma Widow Supports Victim’s Family in Legal Dispute

Liverpool, UK—The family of a woman who recently died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma is embroiled in a legal dispute over her death, but has been encouraged to “keep on fighting” by another woman whose life was affected by this deadly disease.

Dianne Willmore died in October, just one day after she was awarded a victory in the Court of Appeal in her case against her former employer, Bowring Comprehensive school in Huyton. Willmore was exposed to asbestos while working at the school, after reconstruction at the building released the toxic dust into the air.

The High Court had previously ruled that her mesothelioma cancer had been caused by that exposure. Yet in December, Knowsley council said that it was not “reasonably practicable” that Willmore could have been protected from the asbestos exposure that led to her cancer, and requested permission to appeal this ruling from the Supreme Court. This means that the damages awarded to Knowsley’s estate–£240,000 total—are now frozen pending the decision regarding the council’s request.

Willmore was just 49 at the time of her death. Her family, understandably, is not only grieving her death but frustrated by the delay in the court battle. Recently they have received support from an asbestos campaigner who lost her partner to mesothelioma at a similarly young age.

Ged Eden, who had been an electrician as well as a seaman in the Royal Navy, died at age 47 from mesothelioma. After a five-year legal battle, Eden’s widow Carole received an out-of-court settlement of £250,000 by the House of Lords as compensation for her husband’s untimely death.

“I would like to support the family of Mrs. Willmore anyway I can,” said Eden. “I hope the family fight all the way.”

Mesothelioma, a rare but aggressive cancer, affects nearly 3,000 new patients each year in the United Kingdom alone. Currently there is no cure for the disease, which typically carries a short life expectancy.