Planes, weddings and sunsets: Your Thomas Cook memories

Thomas Cook brochure Image copyright Thomas Cook
Image caption Like the company, Thomas Cook brochures have been consigned to history

Millions of people have been on Thomas Cook holidays since its eponymous founder organised his first excursion from Leicester to Loughborough on 5 July 1841.

Following the firm's collapse, sun-seekers - as well as former Thomas Cook resort workers - have been sharing their memories with BBC News.

Trip of a lifetime

Image copyright Kevin Eve
Image caption Kevin Eve came face-to-face with an alpaca in Peru

Kevin Eve, who now lives in Hungary but was originally from Surrey Quays in London, said Thomas Cook was responsible for an unforgettable childhood trip to the other side of the globe in 1977.

"My parents were divorcing and decided to splurge what they couldn't agree amicably on splitting," he said.

"My mum went on a bus tour of Europe whilst Dad and I went on a three-week, three-country tour of South America - Brazil, Peru and Ecuador - including Inca ruins, the Galapagos islands and the upper reaches of the Amazon.

"Nobody in those days would have ventured that far without a travel agent having arranged absolutely everything."

'School celebrity'

He continued: "The only pictures of South America we had were from travel catalogues and Encyclopaedia Britannica. We couldn't even phone home, we sent a telegram mid-trip to signal our survival so relatives wouldn't be beside themselves with worry.

"When I returned, I was a minor celebrity for a few weeks. The librarian rounded up the school and made me tell as much detail as I could remember about the whole experience as I was most probably the only kid in the school, if not the school district, who had set foot outside of the country, never mind been across the Atlantic to gape at marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, condors, sloths and the like.

"None of that would have been possible without Thomas Cook. It's sad to see an icon of my childhood disappear."

Impulsive dash to Florida

Image copyright Rosie Freddy
Image caption Rosie Freddy and her family went to Florida to cheer themselves up

Rosie Freddy, from Epworth, near Doncaster, told the BBC her family grabbed a late Thomas Cook deal to the US after receiving some bad news in 1993.

She said: "My husband had just been made redundant, so on the spur of the moment we called in to Thomas Cook in Doncaster and booked a last-minute holiday to Florida.

"It was booked in only about half an hour and I walked out on trembly legs. It was booked - now we had to go.

"It was our very first family holiday abroad and the first time on an aeroplane - yes, a 10-and-a-half hour flight for a first-timer.

"But we had a fantastic time and all went without a hitch.

"Nowadays we usually book our holidays online and it takes quite a lot of work and research to get what you want. That's in stark contrast to Thomas Cook doing everything - and for the bargain price of £279 each."

Baby met the pilot

Image copyright Jill Doyle
Image caption Five-month-old Ivy was invited into the cockpit

Jill Doyle, from Oldham, said she would never forget her flight to Tunisia with her five-month-old granddaughter Ivy last October.

She said: "This was her first-ever flight and she was very much welcomed.

"Ivy was presented with her first flight certificate and got the chance to go and visit the pilots, and have her photo taken for her memory box.

"The holiday was out of this world too. We stayed in five-star luxurious accommodation and were treated like royalty."

Egyptian adventure

Image copyright Fiona Foskett
Image caption Fiona Foskett (right) said she had an amazing time in Egypt with her mother and friend

Fiona Foskett, from Portsmouth, visited Cairo and Luxor in Egypt with her mum and a friend in 1989.

"It was certainly a holiday to remember. We had an absolutely amazing time with lots of fabulous memories," she said.

"Whilst my mum was using the camera outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, our tour guide thought it would be funny to kiss the lens - but in doing so he put pressure on my mum's eye and knocked out her contact lens on to the gravel outside the museum.

"The whole of our tour party were down on our knees looking for it but after about 20 minutes we gave up and started calling my mum pirate because she could only see out of one eye."

Creating family memories

Image copyright Jonathan Moore
Image caption Jonathan Moore said the winter weather would normally prompt a visit to Thomas Cook

Jonathan Moore, a single father from Stamford in Lincolnshire, said he had Thomas Cook to thank for three "superb" holidays with his three primary school-aged children.

He said: "Our three holidays have seen us visit Menorca, mainland Spain and this year we spent two weeks in Zante, Greece.

"I've booked all three by walking into the Thomas Cook Stamford branch on a cold January day where the same, very helpful Thomas Cook travel agent would spend time helping me decide where to go.

"This is always based on my kids' top priorities of slides, pool, TV in room and beach.

"I can't praise the travel agent highly enough as all three breaks have been superb and we've made some amazing memories."

The birthday surprise

Image copyright Nick Loizou
Image caption Nick Loizou's son ended up with two birthday cakes in 1992

Nick Loizou, from Surrey, got a major surprise when he took his family on a two-week Thomas Cook holiday to the Greek island of Skiathos in 1992.

He said: "About halfway through our time there, it was my son Harry's sixth birthday and the restaurant made us a delicious cake.

"When we arrived the waiter sat us at a large table, which I thought was a bit strange. Furthermore we were made to wait for some time for a menu.

"Then suddenly I had a big surprise. Our neighbours had flown in that day - my daughter already knew - with another cake from M&S."

The holiday reps

Image copyright Emily Talbot
Image caption Ms Talbot (third from the left) said she made friends for life while working for Thomas Cook

Holiday-makers are not the only ones with cherished memories of Thomas Cook.

Emily Talbot, from Oakham in Rutland, spent a summer season working as a rep for the firm in Fethiye, Turkey, in 2014.

She said: "The job was intense and sometimes we worked 18-hour days, but it really was one of the best roles I ever had.

"It taught me how to be an independent adult and I'll always have friends at home and in Turkey."

Image copyright Laura Ford
Image caption Laura Ford spent two years working as a holiday rep

Laura Ford, who worked as a rep for the firm in Tenerife in 2013 and Venice in 2014, echoed those sentiments.

"It really helped me grow as a person and I have made lifelong friends," she said.

"I loved welcome meetings and getting to guide on some of the excursions and bar crawls. You become a family with all the others out in resort."

Terror response

Image copyright Dave Hemming
Image caption Dave Hemming (third in from left middle row) worked for JMC, part of the Thomas Cook Group

Another former rep, Dave Hemming from Warwickshire, said his spell with the firm was a mix of "great times and challenging times" - including dealing with flight disruption after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"I worked two days straight without leaving Faro Airport in Portugal," he said.

"The guests were mostly amazing and so understanding. We managed to get most families out into hotels but a lot of people were just stuck in the airport. But people made the most of it.

"I will miss Thomas Cook and will always be proud to say I was part of Thomas Cook history at its prime."

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