When Sarah Davis won the Community Hero award at the TTG Top 50 Travel Agencies awards, she used the event itself to go even further for a good cause.
Davis, a Personal Travel Agent at Co-operative Travel, received her award after raising £600 among her colleagues to donate to a tour guide in Bali, Kadek Wikan, who had lost all income during the pandemic.
On the evening of the awards itself, she ran a raffle among fellow homeworkers and raised another £1,200.
Davis and husband Phil – also a PTA - met Kadek during a family holiday in Bali in 2015, when he worked for a local excursion company. During the pandemic, Wikan was left trying to support his wife Raithe, three-year-old son Ages and help look after his extended family.
“The £600 raised in June and July kept 12 of them for seven months, then his wife got a job in a laundry - where she still works - and they bought second-hand clothes and sold them,” said Davis.
Wikan was forced to move to look for work and had sold homemade cakes door to door, prompting Davis to think she should help again.
“The months ticked away and I saw Bali wasn’t opening until 2022, so I asked the guys again.”
Prize donations including three months’ PTA maintenance fees from Co-op Travel came in, while Davis bought others, including a luxury hamper, to raffle on the night of the TTG event.
“The raffle kept getting bigger and bigger, we finished at £1,217. If it hadn’t been for TTG, I don’t know whether it would have got such momentum. It wasn’t me; it was all the PTAs – they are the ones that offered the prizes and paid the money; it’s them that need thanking, not me.”
Wikan sent a thank you video, which has been distributed among the PTAs and Davis and her family plan to visit Bali as soon as they can. Separately, she has also been funding Ages’s future schooling, money which the family “has never touched” during the pandemic.
“I just wanted to do something for sustainability. We think we’ve got it tough, but we’ve got the NHS and furlough – you forget the bigger picture,” Davis said.
Her efforts have not stopped there, she has also been selling homemade facemasks to raise money, with more than 1,600 sold so far.