Thomas Cook manager Aundrea Bannatyne has died after battling cancer for 13 months.
Bannatyne, who was cluster manager for Cook’s Bangor and Newtownards stores in northern Ireland, was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in July last year and given six to 12 months to live. She died in the early hours of today (Weds). She was 43.
She leaves two children, Jack, 15, and James, 11, who survived treatment for brain cancer at the age of two.
Volunteers who rallied around to help fund Bannatyne’s treatment and called themselves “Aundrea’s Army” had raised around £200,00 in total.
Bannatyne had been receiving chemotherapy treatment in Belfast until several months ago and had also undergone immunotherapy treatment at the private Hallwang clinic in Germany. The chemotherapy cost £2,800 per cycle because the drug used, Abraxane, is not available on the NHS in Northern Ireland.
In recent weeks she had moved to a hospice for palliative care.
Best friend Martin Maclaren, Beachcomber Tours regional sales manager, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who set up fundraising committee ‘Aundrea’s Army’, said: “She fought the cancer all the way. She always loved a laugh and I used to call her my ‘baby girl’. I will never forget her laugh. She was loved by the travel trade. She was an inspiration.”
At the end of July, Bannatyne and her two sons met Northern Irish and former world champion boxer Carl Frampton, something her boys had put on their ‘wish list’ before their mother passed away.