Inspired Travel managing director Kate Harris has said she “did not need to think twice” when asked to temporarily manage the agency of her friend Penny Bones, who passed away on 30 March.
Kate began looking after Southern Cross Travel last week, amid the coronavirus crisis, after Penny died from cancer.
Penny’s daughter, Anneka, is also involved in the business, but is currently on maternity leave and so the Bones family asked Kate to manage Southern Cross Travel in their stead.
Kate and Penny had been friends for more than 20 years after meeting on a fam trip, and would often room together at conferences and on educationals.
Southern Cross Travel was founded in 1984 by Penny and her husband Trevor, and has shops in the East Sussex towns of Wadhurst and Rye.
“Trevor and the family will need this business for the future, so there were so many reasons for me to help,” Kate told TTG.
“I met Penny 23 years ago through the industry and even though we were 20 years difference in age, we just hit it off.
“I was a Travel Counsellor when we met and she told me about the TTA. That’s why I joined them when I launched my own business. I really do have a lot to thank Penny for.”
Kate said "more than 100 admin files" from Southern Cross had been delivered to Inspired Travel last week, and she is being assisted and advised by Southern Cross agent Liz Dickinson.
Southern Cross, an Australia specialist, is still dealing with customer repatriations due to coronavirus, with a handful of clients still down under.
Kate said despite the added workload she was more than happy to be able to help the Bones family.
“The friendships you form in the travel industry are truly amazing, and Penny and I just had a real affinity with one another. I will miss her greatly. She was a very special person.”