A travel agent from Ilkeston has landed on her feet, having secured a new job just weeks after being made redundant by the Thomas Cook collapse.
Senior sales consultant Diane Lisney is a new arrival at Co-operative Travel’s Bath Street branch just as she thought her career in the industry had reached a sudden departure.
When the news broke that Thomas Cook was being wound up at 1.47am on Monday, September 23, Diane received a text within minutes to say she no longer had a job.
She said: “I was on the phone with all my colleagues. Everyone was crying. The business had been through a lot, but we always thought it pull through in the end.”
Diane and her colleagues were then forced to return their keys to Thomas Cook’s Eastwood branch, where she had been since May after eight years at its Bath Street outlet.
She said: “I was shocked, gutted and at a total loss. I’m in a position where I need to work. We were just told to sign up for Universal Credit.”
Luckily, as travel industry rivals moved to help clear up the fallout of Thomas Cook customers stranded around the world and out of pocket at home, they also thought of the staff.
Diane said: “Midcounties Co-operative announced they were holding a recruitment event for ex-Thomas Cook workers, so a few of us got in car and drove down to Walsall more in hope than anything.
“I hadn’t done a CV in years, so I had to get my son to help me write it the night before.”
Diane managed to dazzle the recruiters but there was no guarantee of a job close to home, so she was delighted to hear she had been posted to Bath Street, where she began in the industry 14 years ago with Ilkeston Co-op Travel.
She said: “I love working in travel, but if I hadn’t got this job, I probably would have looked to do something else.
“It’s nice to be back where I belong, and working for a business with family values.”
Diane has lost no time in offering former Thomas Cook customers help with compensation claims and new holiday bookings.
Indeed, she and new colleague, Emily Borthwick, have both had their own holiday bookings disrupted too.
Emily said: “It’s brilliant to have Diane on board. She seems to know everyone in Ilkeston, they recognise her as soon as they come in.
“She has so much experience and knowledge to offer. It would be a big loss to the community if she left the industry. The opportunity the Co-operative has given Thomas Cook staff is really good to see.”