THE family of a woman who died of asbestos-related cancer is appealing to her former workmates to help them get answers on how she was exposed to the material.

Tina Handley, who was from Durham but moved to Northallerton in 2004, died last August a year after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma– a lung cancer commonly associated with exposure to asbestos.

The 64-year-old's family has instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office to investigate her illness and whether it was related to her work history.

Solicitors want to know if she was exposed to asbestos during her time as an office worker for Durham County Council in the late 1990s and early 2000s or as a nurse at Dryburn hospital in the early 1990s and want to hear from anyone who worked alongside her.

Emma Dumbleton, who is representing Mrs Handley's family, said: “Just a few months on from Tina’s death, her loved ones remain understandably devastated by their loss.

“The family have a number of questions regarding how she developed mesothelioma and are keen to get more information on the issues.”

Mrs Handley worked as a clerk, typist and personal assistant within the social services department at Durham County Council between 1998 and 2004, based at County Hall in the city.

She was an auxiliary nurse at Dryburn Hospital in the gynaecology and ENT departments, between 1992 and 1995.

Her son Toby, 42, said: “It was devastating to see how mesothelioma affected mum and ultimately led to a major decline in her health. She was clearly in a lot of pain and it was very hard to see.

“We all loved her so much and are just desperate to get the answers we feel she deserved regarding her illness. We would be hugely grateful to anyone who may be able to help us.”

Helen Lynch, Durham County Council’s head of legal and democratic services, said: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of Tina Handley and offer our condolences to Tina’s family.

“Durham County Council is currently engaged in legal proceedings with regards to this matter and is unable to comment any further at this stage.”

Anyone with information can contact Emma Dumbleton at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office on 0191-2790105 or email