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Cancer victim's hopes dashed

PUBLISHED: 16:38 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:42 23 August 2010

A 61-YEAR-OLD who contracted cancer after being exposed to asbestos while working in hospitals has accepted £200,000 in damages. Alan Jeffrey Jennings, of Gore Road, Dartford, spent years working for the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust in a number of di

A 61-YEAR-OLD who contracted cancer after being exposed to asbestos while working in hospitals has accepted £200,000 in damages.

Alan Jeffrey Jennings, of Gore Road, Dartford, spent years working for the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust in a number of different hospitals.

The High Court heard last Thursday how the maintenance man's dream of retiring in Spain with his new partner was crushed by the news he had one of the most aggressive cancers.

But as well as being unable to move to the Costa Blanca where he owns a villa, the court heard Mr Jennings could have just months to live. Judge James Stewart QC, who approved the settlement and described Mr Jennings as a "very honest and straightforward witness", said that doctors have told him that he could pass away as early as September 2009. Mr Jennings worked between 1970 and 2000 at Joyce Green Hospital, West Hill Hospital and Gravesend and North Kent Hospital on a number of different projects.

While involved in the upkeep of buildings at several hospitals he was exposed to the asbestos dust which has caused his mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs, notorious for its incurability and for the agony suffered by its victim.

The father-of-two, who also has a granddaughter, accepted the money from the NHS Trust, which admitted liability for his condition.

Taking the stand at the High Court so the judge could assess part of his damages claim, Mr Jennings said he had purchased the property in Spain with a view to living there with partner Christine Brandsetter, 49.

The couple, who both work at the Darent Valley Hospital, have been together for the last eight years following Mr Jennings' divorce, and wanted to rent out their home in Dartford so they could soak up the sunshine on the continent.

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