Kind-hearted travel agents have set up an online fundraising page as they try to make a difference for the families of Manchester bombing victims Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry.
Chloe, 17, who worked part-time for South Shields-based Westoe Travel, and boyfriend Liam, 19, were among 22 people killed in the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena on May 22.
Ken Garrity Travel, based in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, and Pole Travel, also in Manchester, set up the online page in the hope of raising £10,000 for the families of the South Shields victims.
Graeme Brett, who runs Westoe Travel with wife Joan, was left devastated by the loss of Chloe, who was due to start full-time with the travel firm this month.
The travel industry now appears to be coming together to show its support.
Mr Garrity said: “As soon as I found out the devastating news, I was in contact with Graeme to offer any help. Although they were devastated at the loss of one of their own staff, he assured me that they were being helped by the police and counsellors, and had spoken to the families.
The travel industry is a very close-knit community and everyone is doing all they can to helpGraeme Brett
“I then thought that I should do something, and contacted another travel colleague in north Manchester, Jill Waite from Pole Travel, and together we devised a JustGiving page to try and raise money for the victims’ families. We set a target of £10,000 and have so far received over £1,300 in donations, mainly from travel colleagues in the business.
“We’d like to broaden the appeal to anyone who wishes to contribute to this cause, so that we can reach our target figure. Chloe and Liam were at the start of their lives, and had so much to look forward to.”
Mr Brett said: “As everyone else was, Ken was shocked by what had happened in Manchester, and wanted to do something to help the families. He set the donation page up and it has gone from there.
“Lots of travel companies have been in touch to offer their support. The travel industry is a very close-knit community and everyone is doing all they can to help.”
To donate to the fund, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/chloewesthoetravel.
Meanwhile, Westoe Travel is organising a raffle in memory of Chloe and Liam.
All proceeds will go to the families, with many local and national companies, including DFDS, National Holidays, Virgin Trains and Emirates, having donated prizes, ranging from return flights to Dubai to a three-night Amsterdam cruise break. Tickets will be available soon from Westoe Travel and the Customs House, while companies which would like to donate a prize can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call into Westoe Travel at 120 Westoe Road, South Shields.