A ROMSEY pensioner died of exposure to asbestos whilst working on Hampshire farms, an inquest heard.

Albert James Dalton, 86, better known as Jim, died at the Countess Mountbatten Hospice in West End on December 11 of mesothelioma, a tumour most commonly related to asbestos disease, COPD and a battle with recurring pneumonia.

The Coroners Court in Winchester heard how Mr Dalton, of Meon Road, worked for many years on farms including King's Somborne, where he would have been regularly exposed to the material leading to the diagnosis in June 2020.

Dr William Fraser, of Abbeywell Surgery, Romsey, said in a statement that Jim had been a ‘frail gentleman’ whose health had significantly deteriorated over the weekend of December 7, 2020 but he had declined hospital treatment and was instead admitted to the hospice for palliative care.

HASAG, a support service for those dealing with asbestos related disease, said in a statement they had received a telephone call from Jim's wife to say he had been watching a television programme about the impact of asbestosis which had jogged his memory. He recalled being exposed whilst working on farms. Jim told the service that buildings on the farms had asbestos in the roofs of the buildings and he worked in the dust particles.

Tax records show Mr Dalton had worked at various farms since his first son was born in 1957 and had moved onto become a dairy farmer.

Assistant Coroner Samantha Marsh concluded: “Jim’s reached the age of 86 and unfortunately, due to exposure, he has sadly deteriorated and died.

“I am entirely satisfied based on HASAG and HMRC statements he has had sufficient exposure to asbestos. Whilst COPD is there, it hasn’t directly caused his death.

“Was the disease caused by exposure? Yes, it was. He contracted the disease whilst working on dairy farms and was exposed to asbestos.”

Attending the inquest, Mr Dalton’s daughter Naomi Roud said: “We never remember our dad as frail at all. He was never a man to sit still. He was always on the go. When we remember our dad, he was not feeble.

"How long will this carry on? People dying of asbestosis.”

In a statement from his children, Jim was described as a man who liked to ‘keep active’. They said: “His character made him who he was. What made him tick was finding people to make a deal. You want to buy something; you go and see Jim.”

As well as working on farms, Jim had carried out three years of national service in the Armed Forces and he had also worked as a lorry driver.