The man behind a collection for one of the last-ever flights staffed by Thomas Cook employees has been unmasked...as Wragby PCSO Nigel Wass.
PCSO Wass was on holiday with his wife, Karen, on the island of Fuerteventura when the travel giant collapsed amid crippling debts.
After initial fears they - and other holidaymakers - would struggle to get home, the couple were assigned to a repatriation flight.
The plane was staffed by Thomas Cook pilots and cabin crew, even though they had all lost their jobs five days earlier.
It was PCSO Wass who decided to hold the collection for the staff.
His efforts raised £950 - and the story made national headlines.
PCSO Wass told the Rasen Mail: “When we got on the plane in Fuerteventura, the entire aircraft had been stripped out. All that was left were the seats.
“Given that they’d lost their jobs, we were amazed to be welcomed by Thomas Cook staff.
“All they had to give passengers was a bottle of water and a muffin. They kept apologising, but no-one was blaming them.”
PCSO Wass revealed the cabin crew tried to keep smiling, even though they were technically unemployed and wouldn’t get paid.
He added: “They were brilliant because they had no idea what was going to happen.
“They knew they weren’t going to get paid...some of the them feared they might lose their homes.”
After listening to staff, PCSO Wass came up with the idea of the collection.
He added: “I mentioned it to Karen and she said I ought to ask one of the cabin crew.
“She was delighted and handed me the in-flight microphone so I could talk to all the passengers.
“We only had one jug but I went round the plane and it was crammed full. People were so generous.
“Everyone was in tears when we handed over the money but it was the least we could do.
“We can’t thank them enough for getting us home safely.”
The return flight ended something of a traumatic week.
PCSO Wass explained he and his wife were uncertain whether to go on holiday as reports of Thomas Cook’s financial problems emerged.
However, they were advised that if they didn’t travel, they would not be eligible for compensation.
He said: “When we got to the hotel, everyone was worried, but the Thomas Cook rep’ was brilliant.
“Some people were asked to pay the full cost of the holiday again, this time to the hotel because they hadn’t been paid by Thomas Cook.
“Some people moved to other hotels, but we were never asked for money.
“It was worrying but fortunately we had a lot of support.
”It was hardly the relaxing holiday we’d hoped for, but thanks to everyone we got home safely - and on time.
“We were lucky because the flight before us was to Glasgow - and it was diverted to Gatwick!”