A Sad Legacy
Charles Frost adored his granddaughter Michelle and after a hard day's work would often stop for a chat on his way home. Unfortunately, sitting on Granddad's knee was to prove fatal for Michelle, diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2006, as dockyard worker Frost was covered in invisible asbestos fibres.1 Michelle recalls:
I was very close to my grandfather. He used to call in to our house after work nearly every night when we were little. He always wore the trousers, jacket and shirt he wore to work. I would sit on his lap and give him a cuddle. Doctors think there must have been asbestos on his clothes that was passed to me.2
At 47 years old, this mother-of-three has become the first grandchild to obtain compensation for an asbestos-related disease in England. As Mr. Frost worked at the Portsmouth dockyard for more than 20 years, the case was brought against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which, it was alleged, had been negligent and in breach of statutory duty. After a writ was issued in the High Court in September 2006, the MoD made an out-of-court offer of £145,000.
Charles Frost started work at the Portsmouth dockyard after World War II and retired in 1974. He himself suffered from unspecified chest problems and died in 1992, aged 81 of pneumonia:
My granddad had bad health for years. We were told it was bronchitis and my mum was told he had something wrong with his lungs, but we never knew what it was.
Michelle Campbell is living on borrowed time as the operations, radiotherapy and chemotherapy have not stopped the cancer from spreading.3
November 6, 2006
1 Oliver Stallwood. £145,000 for Woman Dying After Cuddles. The Metro. Nov. 6, 2006. p. 32.