THE husband of a woman who died from an asbestos-related cancer is asking her former colleagues to get in touch as they may hold vital information about how and why she came into contact with the hazardous dust.

Mary Theresa Duffin, of Silkstone, died aged 63 on February 13 last year after enduring a 15-month battle with mesothelioma.

Before she died, Mary told her husband Alan she believed she remembered working around asbestos during her time at W M Monks Ltd builders’ merchants, based on Queens Road in Sheffield.

Mary was a receptionist at the firm between 1971 and 1974 and recalls walking through the firm’s yard every day where builders and tradesmen were working with and cutting asbestos sheets. The firm has since closed.

Alan, 65, has now instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to appeal to Mary’s colleagues to come forward to help piece together information about the working conditions at the firm.

Alan said: “We were absolutely devastated when doctors said Mary was suffering from mesothelioma and that she might not have long left.

"Mary was aware of the terminal diagnosis as she knew the husband of a friend who had died from the same disease, so it was a frightening time for her.

"Even though we were both aware of the prognosis, I don’t think I’ll ever get over losing her in such a terrible way - we were both looking forward to enjoying our future together."

Mary, who was known as Maura O’Donovan by her colleagues, first started to show symptoms of mesothelioma in September 2010 when she had trouble breathing while on holiday in Tuscany with Alan.

She visited the accident and emergency department at Barnsley Hospital when she returned home and tests and scans revealed she had fluid on her lungs.

She was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2010 and endured two rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, followed by palliative care at Weston Park Hospital.

Anyone with any information about the working conditions at W M Monks Ltd in the 1970s should contact Martyn Hayward on 0114 274 4615.