A fundraising campaign, set up by former Thomas Cook bosses John Donaldson and John McEwan, has raised more than £160,000 in just five weeks for staff affected by the operator’s tragic collapse.
The campaign was launched on 15 October, with the pair – who led the company in the 1980s – pledging to use the former Cook network and their industry-wide contacts to help out the 9,000 Cook staff hit by the firm’s failure in September.
Abta’s LifeLine charity is administering the appeal, with the charity having already received a further “six-figure sum” in direct donations since Cook went under.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the level of support from those we have spoken to both in the UK and overseas,” said Donaldson. “There is huge affection for Thomas Cook and it has played a key role in so many careers over the years.
“The monies have ranged from small donations to significant sums, and we are grateful for every penny.”
Donaldson said a significant number of former Cook management staff had donated to the appeal, while some members of staff who lost their jobs in September have also pledged small amounts.
“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,” said Donaldson. “These funds have therefore been much-needed.”
While Donaldson declined to be drawn on the largest donors, he said he was “disappointed” by the response to the campaign from the chairman and non-executive directors of the most recent Thomas Cook shareholder board.