The wife of a former BAE worker from Barrow wants to warn others of the importance of getting a biopsy in regards to asbestosis 'before it's too late.'

83-year-old Ann Storey has spoken out following the death of her husband at the age of 84.

Ken Storey started as an apprentice when he was just 16 years old at Vickers in 1956.  

READ MORE: Asbestos played role in death of former shipyard worker

He started out as a caulker and was made a foreman caulker in his 20s.

Throughout his 37-year career, the dad-of-two was exposed to asbestos, said his wife.

The Mail: Ken Storey just before his lung conditions worsenedAnn said: "The apprentices used to make the asbestos into snowballs and throw it at each other. There was no protection provided in those days - no goggles or face masks.

"When Ken started in the yard, they had to provide their own overalls and they were washed at home - which also brought asbestos dust home.

"It was only in later years that they were provided with overalls and protective gear. He often worked with a wire brush which used to send the ashes and dust everywhere."

After retiring early at the age of 54, Ken was in and out of hospital several times a year with serious lung infections.

He suffered with COPD and had Pleural Plaques -  these are grey-white areas of thickened tissue in the lung lining which are the most common signs of asbestos exposure.

In April 2023, he was admitted to hospital with a severe pulmonary infection.

Ann said: "Ken was sent for a scan and the doctor came back and said 'I have good news and bad news. The good news is the chest infection is clearing however you have asbestosis.'

"From when he was told that, he just went downhill and told me he was very frightened."

Ken was very ill in the last few weeks of his life and died on October 29, 2023.

The Mail: Ken just three weeks before he passed awayAfter his death, Ann went about getting a biopsy at Furness General Hospital. When the results came back, she was told that no fibres were found in his lungs and the death certificate deemed his passing as 'unascertained'.

She tried to pursue a compensation claim with Irwin Mitchell solicitors in Newcastle however the case was dropped. 

She then turned to GMB union who also said they couldn't help.

"It's absolutely unbelievable after all the years working with asbestos," Ann said. "I don't know where else to turn as the only evidence that will be accepted is the biopsy. 

"I've been trying to get further access to Ken's medical records and find out the name of the doctor that told him he had asbestosis, but I'm having no luck.

"The GMB union have now thrown out the claim because of the biopsy result so he won’t get a penny of compensation and it's obviously too late now for another one to be done.

"Five of Ken's co-workers have come forward to confirm that he was exposed to asbestos however this and his medical records won't be accepted.

"I have documents referring to asbestosis - including the discharge letter from the hospital."

The Mail: BAE Systems"I just want to warn others and tell anyone facing possible asbestosis to ask for a biopsy and written proof before it’s too late.

"It may cost thousands of pounds for me to pursue this through the courts but I'd like to help others even if it didn’t help myself."

Ken leaves behind two children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The Mail contacted Irwin Mitchel solicitors who declined to comment.

The Mail has contacted GMB Union for comment.