THE family of a man who died from an asbestos-related illness have backed calls for people to be aware of the danger they may be in.

Derek Whenman, 65, of North Road, West Drayton, died on November 6. He had worked for 20 years at a factory in Yiewsley.

Last week, the Gazette revealed that Hillingdon has the fourth highest asbestos related death rate of all the London boroughs.

Mr Whenman, part of a family of 18, also spent 25 years working at Heathrow Airport.

In 2007 he was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given approximately 18 months to live. His son, Leigh, said: "Even though he lived a little bit longer than they said, the illness took hold and his last three months were very hard. The illness can take some 30 to 40 years to come out in the body, but when it does it hits hard.

"My dad had to have his lungs drained on a regular basis and in the end he had a permanent drip fitted and my mum had to do this daily."

Mr Whenman worked for Rickton Springs, in Trout Road, as a spring maker until the company went into liquidation several years ago.

Leigh Whenman said: "The person's way of life totally changes and I don't believe that companies who are to blame are hit hard enough. I was intrigued to find out Hillingdon's asbestos death rate and read last week's Gazette story with much interest."

The story is a familiar one - someone dies years after they worked in an environment where they may have been exposed to asbestos dust, at a company that has long since closed down.

It is not the first link to asbestos in Trout Road, which housed several factories for decades.

Earlier this year, the Gazette ran an appeal for colleagues of Edward Hart, who worked at Parkfield Instruments, also in Trout Road, to come forward after he died of mesothelioma.

Last week asbestos in the borough was described as a 'ticking time bomb' by the family of Cyril Faulkner, who is affected by the disease.

Ironically, Uxbridge used to be home to a factory that made asbestos fire-proofing material. Cape Boards once occupied a rambling site off Iver Lane, having been established in Uxbridge in 1945. It changed to the modern replacement for asbestos, calcium silicate, in 1982, before finally closing in 2002.

But when the factory was demolished, several buildings had to be thoroughly and carefully cleaned of asbestos dust before they could be pulled down.

Relatives of mesothelioma victims who used to work at the factory have in the past tried to contact others with a view to seeking compensation. * Has asbestos affected you or are your worried about it?