Thomas Cook employees are planning a large-scale “final farewell” winter ball.
The party is being planned for 180 ex-Cook staff at the Marriott in Peterborough – the city home to the operator’s former head office – next month.
But organisers told TTG they were running short of funds and were still in need of raffle prizes to raise cash for Abta LifeLine, which is supporting former staff.
Ex-Cook operational delivery executive Carrie-Ann Ashby said the event on 16 November had been created in place of a staff Christmas party.
She said staff wanted to hold the event to “be one big family for the last time”.
“We need as much help as possible and it would be absolutely amazing if travel companies could offer any flights or holidays – big-ticket items – to help raise as much money as we can for LifeLine,” she said.
“They’ve been helping our colleagues across the country. Although the company has gone, our values – to be one Thomas Cook – still remain.”
Trudie Clements, Abta LifeLine director, thanked the staff for their efforts, reporting the industry charity had to date received “more than 600 applications and counting” from former Cook employees who had fallen on hard times.
Clements said the charity was continuing to hear from those in need across the sector, from single-parent families and couples who had both worked for Cook, to cabin crew and overseas reps struggling to find re-employment and even housing.
“We’re relying on help from the industry, as this is on an unprecedented scale,” she said.
During Abta’s recent Travel Convention in Tokyo, a string of fundraising events collected more than £70,000 for LifeLine’s dedicated Cook appeal, but Clements warned money was “going out as soon as it’s coming in”.
“In the shorter term, it’s about getting people food vouchers, but in the longer term it’s about supporting different issues, as people will struggle to pay their rent and could lose their homes,” she added.