A GRIEVING widow whose husband died from an industrial disease is appealing for help to find out how he was exposed to asbestos.

John Webb, 88, from Clacton, died from mesothelioma, an aggressive and terminal lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, last November.

It is claimed he was exposed to the deadly mineral while working as a coach builder for British Rail from 1943 to 1963 in Stratford railway sheds and then in Clacton’s railway sheds until 1979.

His widow Lilian, 85, said: “Although he had a cough at the beginning of 2018, he was otherwise in good health.

“However, the speed of his deterioration over a mere six or seven-month period was shocking.

“It was awful for John and a terrible thing for my family and I to have to witness.”

Mr Webb suffered from a persistent cough from Christmas 2017 and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May last year.

Soon after his diagnosis, Mr Webb lost his appetite and dropped to nine stone in weight.

Stephen Webb, one of his two sons, said: “My father’s work involved repairing, maintaining and refurbishing passenger coaches.

“He enjoyed the work and took a great pride in it. He was even involved in refurbishing the Queen’s royal carriages.

“At that time asbestos was used in a lot of the carriages that he stripped and refurbished.”

The family’s solicitors Birchall Blackburn Law, with the support of the National Asbestos Helpline, is now appealing to Clacton’s ex-British Rail workers to help them make an industrial disease compensation claim to secure Mrs Webb’s future care.

It said although British Rail no longer exists, a claim will be brought against the insurers at the time of Mr Webb’s exposure to asbestos.

If you have information about the use and presence of asbestos in railway sheds during the Sixties and Seventies, call Pierce Blythen on 01244 684472.