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Testimonial for NAH Mr H

“I would recommend anyone with any problems concerning asbestos to contact the National Asbestos Helpline. They will point you in the right line as they did with me, and I thank them very much. The National Asbestos Helpline put me in touch with Birchall Blackburn Law to assist me with making a claim against my former employers for Pleural Thickening. (Pleural Thickening is an asbestos related condition which affects the lining around the lungs). I have been treated with courtesy and respect throughout the claims process. I would recommend NAH and Birchall Blackburn Law and their services to anyone at anytime”. Mr H worked as an asbestos stripper for many years. He worked on numerous sites throughout the West Midlands including council properties and boiler houses. Mr H worked for the Defendants from 1984 to 1992 and he was exposed to asbestos throughout. Some protective equipment was provided to him and initially the Defendants tried to argue that therefore they were not responsible for his condition. However, the solicitors who NAH put Mr H in touch with fought tirelessly to show that this protective equipment was not sufficient both, in terms of the equipment itself and the guidance on how and when it needed to be used. It was therefore inevitable that Mr H was exposed to the deadly asbestos dust. This complicated case was made straight forward for Mr H and he was thrilled with the outcome

Kenneth George Griffin

I would like to thank you for the excellent service you provided me while helping to pursue my claim.

Alan Holmes

We would like to thank the National Asbestos Helpline service for giving us help and advise on our right to claim compensation after out mother’s death due to Mesothelioma.

We did not believe we had a claim but were told that we had a good chance of compensation due to the serious nature of this Asbestos related disease.

We would advise anyone in a similar situation to contact the National Asbestos Helpline service.

Jean Mary Goodwin

From the initial contact with the National Asbestos Helpline everything went very smoothly and was stress free, nothing was too much bother. We have nothing but praise for them in what was a particularly hard time in our lives.

John Osbon

I would like to say a huge thank you for a job well done in getting my compensation for me. Although I am not ungrateful for the money which is very welcome right now, but it is confirmation that I did indeed work in a toxic environment and is fully justified.

It is just a shame that I did not know of the hazards of asbestos and working with it at the time, and had I done so, I would of course had no need to claim.

From finding out about the National Asbestos Helpline service on the internet and going through the claiming procedure, it has taken around two and a half years to fruition, but has been worth the wait.

Unfortunately some of my friends and work mates have passed on because of contact with asbestos and as my claim comes to an end, I am reminded of them.

Retired Respiratory Consultant

I recommend National Asbestos Helpline without hesitation. They offer highly professional, experienced and sympathetic support in assisting people through the logistical and legal minefield that frequently surrounds a compensation claim for asbestos related health problems. Their communication is excellent and, unlike some organisations and professionals who may cherry pick, they go that extra yard and leave no stone unturned in seeking every opportunity to make a claim successful.

Mr Margetts of Rotherham

After having my surgery for lung cancer, and having been exposed to asbestos in my career I thought about making a civil claim against my past employer.  That’s when I picked up an information sheet about the National Asbestos Helpline.  The information on the sheet was excellent and after contacting their number I was given all the help I needed to put my mind at rest about making a claim.  I came upon this information sheet late but I would have no doubt about pointing people who are worried about having asbestos related diseases to contact the National Asbestos Helpline.

Through the National Asbestos Helpline I was referred to Birchall Blackburn Law who took up my claim for asbestos related lung cancer.  My wife and I wish to record our thanks to Birchall Blackburn Law for the very high standard of service that was provided during this time, not only for legal support but through them practical liaison and emotional support.  We thank them for the compensation recovered and I would have no hesitation recommending the National Asbestos Helpline and Birchall Blackburn Solicitors to anybody who has asbestos concerns.  Many thanks for everything.

AP of Surrey

The National Asbestos Helpline passed my case to Birchall Blackburn Law who handled this traumatic experience most sympathetically and brought it to a satisfactory conclusion, damages being awarded in excess of £170,000.  Everyone dealing with my case was most professional (as one would expect!) and I would have no hesitation in recommending them.

Mrs Richardson of Morecambe

My son gave me the number for the National Asbestos Helpline.  I rang them up not expecting anything but they were very helpful and kind.  They set the ball rolling and before I knew it they put me in touch with Birchall Blackburn Law.  The solicitors were wonderful.  They fought my corner for me and I received my compensation and I am extremely happy with it.  All it cost me was one phone call.

Mr Andrews of Colchester

I want to say thank you very much for all you have done.  I am very pleased with the outcome.

Alastair E Ault, RN Retired

A Stokers Story….

On a cold, wet February morning in 1964, a lone youth stood, suitcase in one hand and travel warrant in the other, waiting for the train which would take him on an adventure of a lifetime.  It seemed forever since the day he had walked into the Naval recruiting office on Green Lane in Derby to join the Royal Marines and for him to come out, an hour later, having taken the Queen’s shilling and joined the Royal Navy.  Some recruiting Chief Petty Officer had persuaded him that, having worked for 3 years, since leaving school, as an apprentice Plater/Welder, he would be better off and more useful to the country as a Stoker.

The long journey from Derby to Plymouth seemed to go very quickly; after all, it was an adventure, like the Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books he had read as a boy or even Biggles.  The train pulled into Plymouth station later that day; new friends had been made on the journey doing the same thing.  Gone were the worries of what lay ahead; we were all in it together and the team feeling had begun.

Outside the station stood a row of dark blue Navy lorries like buses at a foreign holiday destination and we all piled on after being checked off a list by lone Leading Hand.  Over the Tor Point ferry and on to HMS Raleigh for a day of haircuts and knitting out with uniform.  Later on, the relaxation in the NAFFI Bar for the ones old enough to drink and some that were not.

Next day the early start of the beginning of training on the Parole Ground (got to knock the idea of “civvy life” out of you and instil some discipline and did they ever do that!).  This day was put aside for splitting recruits into divisions (named after Admirals) and allocating mess dormitories.  Five weeks of knocking “civvy street” out of everyone and instilling “The Navy Way” into you.  Then the hard work began with the introduction of Trade training and the first introductions to the inside of a ship, although on land.  Pipe work, Admiralty three-drum boilers, system layouts…….all had to be learnt; examinations had to be taken.

Doing the trade introduction was the first time we came across “LAGGING” pipes.  They were covered in a white painted substance.  Little did we know that although it was there to protect us it was a killer waiting, in later life, to creep up and kill us.  During this training period was the time recruits were introduced to the “real Navy”.  The frigates, old WW11 destroyers converted into type 15 frigates with all the old machinery, engines and boilers, all of which were covered in lagging.  Every engine part that got hot was covered in this white covering like plaster of Paris.  Little did we know that this was asbestos and it was a killer.  No-one knew in the 1960’s what asbestos was, just that it stopped you getting burnt by the hot steam pipes throughout the ship and, believe you me, there were a lot of hot pipes, even in a small frigate.

After my trade training and an extended special course to get my rank early I was drafted to my first ship of the line HMS Eagle, a Fleet Aircraft carrier and a big ship.  Duties on board were mainly watch-keeping in the engine rooms, boiler rooms, gear rooms and fridges.  All of these areas of watch-keeping were full of pipes lagged with asbestos.

Two years on board HMS Eagle were some of the best years of my life, travelling the world from Mombasa to New Zealand and beyond; long stays in Singapore, Hong Kong, then back home to get married and go through the problems of living accommodation.  Starting firstly in a one-roomed flat in Southsea in the middle of winter with a one-ringed electric stove to keep warm.  Then the luxury of a three bedroomed flat on Portsdown Hill, Portsmouth overlooking harbour and dockyard.

During this time I was working in Portsmouth dockyard on numerous ships under the flag of Fleet maintenance.  This involved day after day stripping lagging off engine room components to get at them to be maintained and then re-lagging them by a special lagging party.  Two years of this and then a draft to HMS Triumph in Singapore dockyard for 2 years married accompanied and living in Malaya, on call to go to ships needing maintenance in Mombasa, Bahrain, New Zealand, Hong Kong doing maintenance and dealing again with asbestos.  I didn’t really stand a chance!

Did I join the wrong branch of the Navy?   I didn’t believe so at the time.  If I had been a seaman instead of a stoker would I have ended up 40 years later with mesothelioma (asbestosis), probably not.  No-one knew then, not even the Big Boys in Whitehall or did they?  I was proud to serve Queen and Country and wouldn’t change it one iota, but I would have liked to have been looked after better by those who should have known better.

In 1973 by term of service ended and I joined the Derbyshire Constabulary.  I had no further contact with asbestos during the period 1973 to 2002.  I retired from the police in 2002 and it came all too quickly.  My retirement really started then; walking was my big joy – Cotswold Way, Great Glen Way, no problems!  Snowdon, no problem and I don’t mean on the train.

Then came the day walking in the Peak District in Derbyshire.  It was a winter’s day and I came to a hill which normally would have caused no problems but this day caused big problems.  I was unable to breath and I thought that I had caught something but I put it down to a cough and the flu/pneumonia jabs that I had recently been given.

A week later, after I was starting a cruise in New Zealand, when I came to a steep hill in Auckland I had to admit that something was wrong.  Badly wrong!  I carried on with the cruise and came home.

A few days after returning I visited the Nurse Practitioner at my local surgery and was treated for an infection with antibiotics and also had an s-ray.  I was lucky that they had an x-ray department at the health centre.  The results of the x-ray showed high levels of fluid in my right lung.  I was referred to Royal Derby Hospital and I was diagnosed with mesothelioma.  I was lucky again because a thoracic surgeon was there at the time from Nottingham City Hospital.  He offered me certain options, one of which was radical surgery to remove the outer layer of my right lung to try to eradicate most of the cancer developing there.  I went for that option and 4 weeks later, at Nottingham City Hospital, I underwent surgery.  I went through a lot of pain and discomfort but it is now 3 months since the operation and I am on the mend.

I will be going on holiday to America in September; I made this my target right from the outset.  It was always my first question to all the professionals that I have seen.  “Will I be able to go to America in September?”

One person who helped me greatly to sort out what I needed to do was an employee of the Asbestos Helpline, Colin Tunstall.  One thing he told me was to get in tough with the Veteran’s Association.  I completed the claim form and they did all the work that was needed for me to get a War Pension which I was awarded some weeks later and payable for the rest of my life.  As I was a member of the Royal Navy when I contracted this disease I was unable to sue the Crown.  This is because there is immunity to prosecution for anyone exposed to asbestos by them before 1987.

One thing I told Colin was to be positive; it’s not the end of the world if at time it might seem to be.  There is a story in Norse mythology about the “Tree of Life”.  Under that tree sit 3 spinners, spinning everybody’s fate.  If your fate is that your time is up there are no surgeons in the world that can change it.  “Que sera sera!”

Mr C. Hills

I contacted the National Asbestos Helpline a number of years ago when I was concerned about my health when I was told that I had an asbestos lung disease. I had worked with asbestos when I was employed as a delivery driver, delivering asbestos sheets around the UK.

At first, the diagnosis was unclear, but the National Asbestos Helpline wrote to my doctors and got to the bottom of it. I was found to have pleural plaques and was relieved that it was nothing more serious. Although the law does not allow for compensation to be paid to pleural plaques sufferers, there was, at that time, a government fund available. The National Asbestos Helpline helped my application for this fund and I was very pleased to receive it. It is a shame that the fund is no longer available to pleural plaques sufferers.

I am now on the National Asbestos Helpline’s Pleural Plaques Register. I know that, if ever there is a change in legislation, The National Asbestos Helpline will keep me informed.

I have kept in touch with Jan Garvey at the National Asbestos Helpline through the years. She has explained to me that I should monitor my health and return to my doctors if there is any deterioration in my breathing. I know that if I have any concerns I can call Jan to discuss them with her.

The National Asbestos Helpline is very approachable and has helped me to understand my lung condition. I feel that I have someone reliable to turn to for advice.

Justine Murfin

1st October 2013

Would just like to say a huge thank you for all you have done for my dad. For all the support and advice and being there out of hours to explain everything. Going that little bit further every time.  The result was amazing, my dad is still overwhelmed and its all thanks to you. Well, Thank you just does not seem enough. You are a credit to your profession. It won’t take away his pain but it will certainly make his life so much easier.

With much appreciation and respect.

Michael J Hopkins

3rd October 2013

I would like to thank the National Asbestos Helpline for the assistance they have given me with my claim for my illness (pleural thickening).

Originally they succeeded in obtaining me a pension for the problem, and then asked Birchall Blackburn Law to following up the case with Alcan, as commented elsewhere Birchall Blackburn are extremly efficent and helpful.

I would like to say that anyone who has chest / breathing problems which could be asbestos related, should contact the National Asbestos Helpline service for assistance who will undoubtedly give them all the advice they require.

I am a really satisfied customer.

Thank you

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