A FORMER employee of Henry Wiggin Ltd, now Special Metals Wiggin Ltd, has launched a High Court battle against the company after developing a terminal asbestos-related cancer.

Donald Knowles, who is 75 and lives in Worcester, was diagnosed with mesothelioma - a cancer which develops in the tissues covering the lungs or abdomen - in April this year after he collapsed on a trans-Atlantic flight as he and his wife Jean returned from a Caribbean holiday.

He was referred by his doctor to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, where a scan revealed a tumour on one of his lungs.

Mrs Knowles, who lost her first husband to cancer, said: "I think we knew more or less the tumour was inoperable as you get a feeling about these things, so it didn't come as a big surprise.

"There's nothing we can do about it though, and his quality of life has gone altogether."

A writ issued in London's High Court states that while working for Special Metals Wiggin Ltd, Mr Knowles was exposed to deadly asbestos dust and fibres, which led to him developing the disease.

Special Metals Wiggin Ltd's human resources manager, Robert Hunt, was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.