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Published on Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Thomas Cook appeal fundraisers 'disappointed' by ex-Board's lack of response

Former Thomas Cook senior executives who set up an appeal for struggling ex-staff have thanked the industry for raising £160,000 in five weeks, but said the response from Board members has been 'disappointing'.

John Donaldson and John McEwan, who led the company in the 1980s and 1990s, launched the appeal to help staff who have been financially impacted by the failure of Thomas Cook.

The pair have been contacting their former Thomas Cook colleagues and using their own personal networks across the UK travel industry to seek support.

They said the response has been overwhelming, with money coming from ex-staff who now live overseas, as well as those who have now found themselves out of work.

Donaldson said: "We have been overwhelmed with the level of support from those we have spoken to both in the UK and overseas."

But he added: "Overall, the response from the chairman and non-executive directors of the most recent Thomas Cook shareholder Board has, to this point in the campaign, been disappointing."

He continued: "There is huge affection for Thomas Cook and it has played a key role in so many careers over the years that many of those we have spoken to have been very happy to contribute.

"The monies donated have ranged from small donations to significant sums and we are grateful for every penny.

"We can't forget that many of the 9,000 people who lost their jobs didn't get their pay packet at the end of September and many are still awaiting statutory redundancy pay. These funds have therefore been much needed."

The fundraising campaign is being administered by the ABTA LifeLine charity, and is in addition to a six-figure sum that has been raised separately for the charity. So far, ABTA LifeLine has helped 900 individuals and families affected by the Thomas Cook failure.

The number 'demonstrates that there continues to be a real need by those impacted, for financial assistance' and the number applying for funding in the run-up to Christmas is likely to increase, McEwan said.

He added: "Many of those who have applied for funding have received help in the form of food shopping vouchers, but larger monetary amounts have also been paid out to help those struggling to pay rents, mortgage payments and other living expenses."

"John and I will continue to seek funding as we expect that help will be much needed over the Christmas period.  Our thoughts are with all those that remain unemployed and they have our assurance that we will continue to help where we can."

Donations can be made here.

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