LONDON, December 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A Mansfield man who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos more than five decades ago has appealed to former colleagues to come forward and help in his fight his mesothelioma claim. David Martin, 68, was diagnosed with the disease in January 2012 - more than 50 years after he started a five-year apprenticeship as a joiner when he left school at the age of 15. Lesley Francois, an industrial disease specialist at Fentons Personal Injury Solicitors LLP, said that in October 2011, Mr Martin, of Abbott Road, developed a persistent dry cough which refused to settle. "Two months later, he suffered breathlessness whilst out walking in Derbyshire with his wife Margaret," said Mrs Francois, a solicitor with the firm. "After visiting his GP, he was referred to Kings Mill Hospital where x-rays and a CT scan revealed that both his lungs had thickened and were filled with fluid. In January, a biopsy confirmed Mr Martin had developed mesothelioma, a particularly aggressive cancer of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos." From leaving school, Mr Martin began working for a construction and engineering company named Harold Ashley & Son Ltd, based at Church Hill in Mansfield Woodhouse, Mansfield. "They built schools and other public buildings such as health centres, fire and ambulance buildings, libraries and structures for the Ministry of Defence," said Mr Martin. "They specialised in the construction of permanent, prefabricated and easily constructed buildings, known as 'CLASP systems.' From the 1950s onwards, asbestos materials were used extensively throughout these buildings - within boiler houses, ceilings, wall and floor tiles as well as around pipe work and heating systems. "My job initially involved fixing doorframes, cupboards and skirting boards, working alongside laggers who would mix an asbestos paste in large tubs before coating the material onto pipe work within the boiler houses," he added. "The space inside the boiler houses was extremely limited and I can remember how both the clothes the laggers wore as well as the air we breathed in each day was always thick with asbestos dust."