A FORMER builder from Longridge died from a lung cancer caused by asbestos, an inquest has heard.

From the beginning of his working life in 1967, Neil Malcolm, was exposed to the dangerous substance as he worked as a self-employed builder and shopfitter.

The inquest in Clitheroe was told the 76-year-old of Calder Avenue came into contact with asbestos sheets, panels and tiles as he carried out shop fittings for two national companies.

Mr Malcolm was tasked to make improvements to shops owned by the WH Smith's stationers and Dorothy Perkins clothing stores.

The Sunderland-born builder first started working for the companies when he was in his early 30s and living in Levenshulme, Manchester.

In a letter written before his death on July 12 (this year) he said that he would be called in to make improvements to store rooms on a regular basis and he would have to remove asbestos panels.

He would then load the panels into his van to be disposed of later and sweep up the asbestos dust.

He said: "I did not take any precautions or wear a mask because I was never made aware of the dangers of asbestos and so I would regularly breathe in the dust.

"I did many similar jobs that involved working with asbestos panels and tiles during my working life."

Mr Malcolm was diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma in April this year after he woke up in the middle of the night suffering from a sharp pain in his chest.

He visited his GP was told that he would need an urgent check with a specialist.

Doctors found that Mr Malcolm had a mass on his right lung but he was advised against having chemotherapy treatment as he was not 'strong enough.'

He was released from hospital but his health deteriorated during a holiday with his wife, Gillian, and two friends, and he was forced to come back early.

East Lancashire coroner Micheal Singleton recorded a verdict of occupational disease explaining that the cancer that killed Mr Malcolm was caused by exposure to asbestos.

Speaking directly to Mrs Malcolm, Mr Singelton, said: "It always worries me that something that occurred years ago and that layed dormant had such a devastating effect years later.”