A former stone mason exposed to dust while working at a Scottish cathedral in the 1980s has been awarded £3.5 million in compensation after being diagnosed with life-changing lung conditions.

Gordon Walters, originally from north east Scotland, trained as a stone mason and worked extensively on the renovation and maintenance of Elgin Cathedral.

During that time he was exposed to significant amounts of stone dust with little or no breathing safety equipment provided. 

After working for The Scottish Development Department of the Scotland Office, Mr Walters then worked on other projects but with proper access to safety equipment, his solicitor, Thompsons Solicitors Scotland, said.

Thompsons Solicitors Scotland believe the £3.5 million compensation amount awarded to Mr Walters is one of the largest financial settlements ever received for a worker diagnosed with the lung conditions Silicosis and SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus).Both conditions caused by inhaling small particles of stone dust. 

Mr Walters was forced to retire in the mid-1990s after being diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

He was then further diagnosed with the lung condition Silicosis.His condition has meant completely life-changing health problems which require full-time comprehensive care.  

Commenting on his compensation award, Mr Walters said: “The Silicosis and SLE I have developed has put me through absolute hell. It’s ravaged my body and means I have to be supported and cared for in almost every aspect of my daily life. 

“The damages I have received will make it possible for all the proper care I need to be put in place.”

Claire Campbell, Mr Walter’s lawyer added: “What this disease has done to Mr Walters is truly appalling. Silicosis and SLE are extremely cruel conditions but can be prevented by making sure people working with stone are properly protected."

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS union, sho referred Mr Walters’ case to Thompsons Solicitors Scotland, said: “We are pleased to have helped secured this settlement for Gordon. We will continue to fight for our members well-being what ever the issue.” 

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scottish Ministers have recently agreed to the settlement of this case from the 1980s.

"The circumstances of the case predate devolution and it was also before Historic Scotland was established as an organisation.

“The Scottish Government is not funding the settlement from the funding for Historic Scotland’s successor body, Historic Environment Scotland.”