Community rallies to help Thomas Cook staff and customers

Generous Wigan residents and business owners are rallying round to help staff and customers affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 10:13 am
Thousands of people face disrupted travel plans because of the collapse

Around 21,000 employees have lost their jobs, including staff at Wigan’s town centre store, and more than 150,000 British holidaymakers are currently abroad and will need to be repatriated as a result of the 178-year-old firm’s collapse on Sunday.

Of the 9,000 members of staff in the UK who are now unemployed, a third are living in Greater Manchester.

In a bid to help those in need, generous residents and business owners have offered free services to not only staff, but families who have been affected by having their holidays cancelled.

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Two of these are Kelly and Sue Hewitt, from Springfield, who rent out a family-sized caravan in Blackpool.

The pair have offered to rent out the holiday home free of charge to a family who had a journey booked with the failed company.

Kelly, 34, who is a supervisor at Pram World in Winstanley, has opened up the offer to people living in any area who are able to travel to Blackpool.

“I felt really sad for people who lost their holidays,” she said. “I ran in and told my mum the idea and she said straight away let’s go for it. If it was me who had booked to go away I would be devastated.

“We’ve had quite a few people message us so I am going to put all the names in a hat and do a live draw on Facebook on Saturday night.”

Kelly posted to social media saying that she hopes the family who goes can make some happy memories even though the site may not be “a patch” on what they had booked.

“There’s quite a lot of activities for children,” she said. “There’s a club and an amusement arcade, a swimming pool and jacuzzi, a fishing pond if that’s what they like.”

Anyone who applies must be able to prove that they had a holiday booked with Thomas Cook.

Kelly and Sue, who were not going to rent out their new caravan until October 4 are now working hard to get it finished sooner.

Just 20 minutes down the road, a beautician in Skelmersdale is offering all Wigan staff a free treatment worth up to £25.

Lydia Upjohn, owner of Arch Rival Brows, said that she felt compelled to help because one of her own clients has just lost her job in the collapse.

“She has been worried about her wages but she’s also been devastated for the people she sold holidays too,” said Lydia. “She feels awful for them. I know that she won’t be able to afford to have treatments now she is out of a job.

“I am also on a group called ‘It’s Orlando Time’ and saw a single mum who had saved £12,500 to take her children away. Her three kids were asleep at the airport and had no idea they weren’t going to Disney. I cried when I read that.

“I think it’s just nice to do something for someone else.

“I work from home so it’s only my time I am giving up.”

Lydia already has three former staff booked in for a treatment. She is offering a range of procedures from a facial to a brow treatment.

Anyone interested in a beauty treatment from Arch Rival Brows should contact Lydia Upjohn on 07581094728 or visit

To apply for the caravan getaway visit