THE widow of a former factory worker left heartbroken after her husband died of an asbestos-related cancer is appealing to his former colleagues to help in her battle for justice.

Grandfather-of-11 Albert Heaton from North Redditch died of mesothelioma, a cancer on the lining of the lungs caused by inhaling asbestos dust, in December 2010 aged 71 years.

Devastated by her loss, wife of 49 years Sheila instructed experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to try to get in touch with Albert’s former colleagues at Granville Tin Plate Co Ltd in Bilston.

It is believed they may be able to provide vital information about the presence of asbestos and working conditions at the factory while Albert worked there as a duct maker and fitter from 1954 to 1960.

Kim Barrett, from Irwin Mitchell, said: “The family have been left shocked and unable to come to terms with Albert’s death because he deteriorated so quickly.

“Sheila remembered Albert’s time at Granville’s factory as he worked there when they began courting and she used to work nearby so he would visit her on his lunch hour.

“As well as making ducting in the factory, Albert used to visit other sites where he was responsible for removing old ducting and fitting the replacement which could also be a dusty job.”

Sheila noticed Albert was short of breath at the end of 2009 and he had lost a lot of weight before this.

By the end of November 2010 he was so weak he could no longer get round the house and he was admitted to the Alexandra Hospital.

A scan revealed Albert had cancer in his lungs but he was too ill for doctors to carry out a biopsy to confirm the type of cancer and he was sent home on 6 December where he died three days later.

Sheila, 72, said: “Albert was my world and I still struggle to accept he is no longer here.

“We met at school and began courting soon after we left so I can barely remember my life without him.

“We should have been planning our 50th wedding anniversary when he became ill but never got chance to make the milestone.”

She added: “Albert was never one to complain so when his health began deteriorating it was difficult to know how poorly he was.

“Once he was admitted to hospital we knew it was serious but never imagined he would be taken from us so quickly.

“It was heartbreaking but also made me angry to learn that he had died from something he had no control over through being exposed so long ago.”

Anyone who thinks they can help can call 0870 1500100 or email