Two former Thomas Cook bosses have teamed up to launch a major fundraising campaign to assist Cook staff hit by the failure of the iconic operator last month.
Former Cook chief executive John Donaldson and former UK managing director John McEwan are seeking support from previous Cook executives and contacts to offer employees who have fallen on hard times since Cook’s collapse some respite.
The campaign will be aligned with, and handled by, the Abta LifeLine charity, which is already working closely with ex-Cook staff to assist them through to the next phase of their career.
McEwan, a trustee of the charity, said £50,000 had already been pledged. However, he has declined to put an exact target on the campaign’s efforts, other than stating “a significant six-figure sum” would be a good start.
“I am deeply saddened by the hardship a great many Thomas Cook staff are experiencing right now,” said Donaldson. “It is through their loyalty and the strong culture built up over years that made the people of Thomas Cook the company’s most valuable asset, and it’s devastating to see them suffer.”
McEwan, meanwhile, spent a day with Cook staff at a job fair in Peterborough following the failure and said staff losing their jobs at such short notice was not only a shock, but had left many without financial security.
“The Abta LifeLine Charity is a perfect vehicle to align this campaign to, as it is already helping Thomas Cook staff and has the infrastructure to administer the funds,” he said.
“We are delighted with the support from the industry towards the Thomas Cook team, including potential recruitment opportunities through the great initiative from Hays Travel in picking up the retail shops and Tui offering roles to Thomas Cook Airlines staff.
“However, the vast majority of staff are still without employment and have little prospect of any income for the next few months.
“Abta LifeLine is going a great job in providing support. However, more financial assistance is needed urgently, and this campaign will certainly help. We are not only going to contact our own personal networks but also communicate via social media and though the Thomas Cook alumni network.
“We are appealing to all of our former Thomas Cook colleagues around the world to give generously and support all those that have recently lost their jobs.”
Anyone wishing to support the appeal should do so via JustGiving.