The family of a “loving” dad -of-two who died as a result of asbestos exposure during his working life have paid tribute to him at an inquest into his death.

Michael Saunders, 73, died after battles with numerous illnesses, including lung cancer, at Bolton Royal Hospital on October 25, Bolton Coroners Court heard.

Mr Saunders, who lived on Doffcocker Lane, Bolton for most of his life, was described by his family as an active man, who “loved the outdoors” and enjoyed walks with his Labrador despite health conditions, including being registered blind since June 2018.

His daughters Donna Berry and Kerry Saunders said he was a “kind and considerate man” and a “loving father”.

Mr Saunders was first diagnosed with a tumour at the top of his spinal column in 2015 before developing other conditions, such as hypertension, pulmonary disease, with osteoporosis and blindness in 2018, the inquest heard.

Assistant coroner Rachel Syed said that Mr Saunders death had nothing to do with potential smoking or drinking habits, as his family confirmed that he had given up smoking in the early 1980s. The hearing was told he had most likely come into contact with asbestos during industrial work earlier in his life. He had also worked for Royal Mail as a postal worker.

The exposure to asbestos caused damage to the lungs, and eventually the cancer, the hearing was told.

Dr Jonathan Pearson, who carried out the post-mortem examination of Mr Saunders, described how his cancer had spread from his lungs to the rest of his body, including the brain.

The spread of the cancer around the body was “likely to be the cause of death”, the inquest heard.

Dr Pearson found asbestos fibres in the lungs stating that: “It is more likely than not that this is asbestos related.”

Dr Shruti Khurana, a consultant in respiratory medicine who had treated Mr Saunders, described him as a “very lovely man”.

Miss Syed expressed her condolences to the Saunders family. She concluded Mr Saunder’s death was due to industrial disease resulting from prolonged exposure to asbestos which ultimately caused lung cancer, before spreading to other areas.