Thomas Cook launches £1m appeal in wake of Corfu tragedy
Thomas Cook and the parents of two children who died of carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Corfu are to work together on a new initiative highlighting the dangers of the gas.
Bobby and Christi Shepherd, aged six and seven, from Horbury, Wakefield, died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel on the Greek holiday island in 2013 when they were overcome by fumes from a faulty boiler.
An inquest in May ruled that the children had been unlawfully killed and concluded that travel firm Thomas Cook breached its duty of care to the family.
The company has now confirmed that following conversations with the children’s parents - Neil Shepherd and Sharon Wood - it has committed to raise an initial £1 million to create a new initiative to promote awareness through research, awareness campaigns, and the promotion of legislation
It also hopes to highlight other drives within the tourism industry, aimed at reducing the risks associated with carbon monoxide.
Speaking about the move, Ms Wood said: “My children lost their lives to carbon monoxide and a very public case highlighted their deaths, yet there are still hundreds of British CO victims every year. There is so much more that can be done to stop this ‘silent killer’.”
She told Channel 5 News: “I’m incredibly proud actually that Thomas Cook have realised the mistakes they have made and there is something positive that they can do in light of Christi and Bobby’s deaths. They’re an industry leader and I really do hope that we can forge a good alliance and move things forward.
“The actual cost of a holiday - a holiday means far more to a family than the actual cost of it. You need to know that your family is safe when you go away and for the travel industry to prosper then they will have to make some serious changes and put into initiatives such as this that Thomas Cook are committed to to see change in the future.”
The travel firm said the “health, safety and welfare” of its customers was its priority, and that it would work to fund research into protection from carbon monoxide, limit the risks associated with the gas, and raise general awareness of the related dangers.
It also announced that Mrs Wood and Mr Shepherd would be taking an active role in promoting its objectives.