A STRICKEN Halesowen father has won a legal battle with his former employers from the 1960s after contracting terminal asbestos related cancer.

Halesowen Joinery Ltd have agreed to pay Martin Rudge a six figure settlement, which can not be revealed for legal reasons, after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining of the lungs caused by inhaling asbestos dust.

Mr Rudge began working for Halesowen Joinery Limited in 1966 as an apprentice carpenter and stayed until 1974. He made fire proof doors for pubs and restaurants which involved cutting asbestos sheets to size which created a lot of dust.

He said: “When I was told I had terminal cancer I was obviously shocked and devastated and found it very hard to come with the fact I was so poorly from something that I’d had no control of.

“My son Gavin and I have been running our window business for the last eight years and I’d hoped to continue working for some time yet. That’s obviously very difficult now, but I plan to keep working for as long as possible.

He added: “I have been having chemotherapy which makes me very poorly and sometimes I become so breathless that I struggle to get up and down the stairs."

The 62-year-old father of two began suffering chest pains and breathlessness in autumn 2012 and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December and immediately instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell who secured an admission of liability from the company.

He said: “When I considered legal action I was aware it could take some time, however I was determined to get justice. It’s a huge relief that it has settled so quickly.

“Nothing can turn back the clock but at least now I can now concentrate on spending as much time as possible with my sons. I also don’t have to worry about being able to afford further care and adaptations to make living at home easier, such as a new shower room and stair lift.”

Iain Shoolbred, who works at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office specialising in helping asbestos victims secure justice, said: “Companies have been well aware of the risks associated with asbestos exposure since the 1960s, yet many workers, like Martin, were not warned of the dangers or given any protective clothing and equipment.”