THE family of a cancer victim who took his fight for compensation to the grave have handed over almost £14,000 to the hospice that cared for him.
Alan Clark’s widow, Stella, 57, and daughter, Kristina Hamilton, 37, presented the £13,600 gesture to Hartlepool and District Hospice after the family carried on Alan’s fight for compensation following a battle with asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma.
Hospice chief executive Tracy Woodall revealed that if families of every hospice mesothelioma patient from 2009 had successfully claimed for compensation from insurance companies then the cash-strapped hospice could have benefitted from £77,500 in one year alone.
Retired catering assistant Stella, from the Owton Manor area of Hartlepool, said: “It was a man’s working life that brought this about. “There should be some compensation to the hospice for the part it played in caring for him.”
Grandmother-of-four Stella, who is also mum to Sharon Wilson, 39, and Elaine Clark, 35, added: “Alan would be over the moon that we could help the hospice and give them just a little bit of what they need. I just hope other people can do the same for them.
“The care he received there was exceptional.
“He used to say it was like being on holiday.”
The Mail reported yesterday that Alan’s family had won an undisclosed out-of-court payout, described as “substantial”, as well as the sum for the hospice.
The 59-year-old was cared for at the hospice from June to August 2009, just months after being diagnosed with the disease.
It had emerged that Alan was exposed to asbestos while working as a lagger on various industrial sites.
Alan had appeared in the Mail just four months before he died speaking of his determination to get compensation after instructing asbestos claims specialists Thompsons Solicitors, with the support of his union GMB.
Thompsons were successful in settling the claim for his family from Alan’s former employers, Spousal Midland and Cape Darlington, in addition to the money for the hospice.
Hospice chief executive Tracy Woodall said: “The money will be focussed towards mesothelioma, the condition the family has been fighting for a long time for to get some justice for patients that suffer from that disease.
“Figures for 2009 alone show that if every mesothelioma patient claimed against the insurance companies, that would bring us another £77,500.
“Mesothelioma is more common than people realise, but not everyone realises they can claim against the insurance companies.
“We obviously don’t want to cause more stress for families and the bereaved. But when people have the courage to stand up and go as far as the Clarks have gone, it means we can care for an awful lot more patients.”
Ian McFall, head of the asbestos department at Newcastle-based Thompsons, said his law firm has a policy to encourage everyone pursuing a compensation from mesothelioma to include a claim for the cost of care provided by the local hospice.