Abta’s director of membership and financial services John de Vial has issued a last-ditch plea for support to reach his £100,000 fundraising target for the Family Holiday Association.

Ahead of this weekend’s 40th London Marathon, de Vial has urged the trade to make donations as he takes part for the seventh time on behalf of the FHA.

He has collected £80,000 in the previous six London Marathons he has fundraised for the FHA and now needs to raise the final £20,000 at this Sunday’s event to reach his £100,000 goal.

This year de Vial is supporting the FHA’s ‘Give Them A Break’ campaign to support key workers and their families that are most in need of financial help and fund a holiday for them once restrictions have eased.

Instead of being held as one event in London, this year’s virtual Virgin Money London Marathon participants are being encouraged to walk or walk the 26.2 miles in a location of their choosing.

De Vial, who this month has worked for 40 years in the travel industry, plans to walk this year from Abta’s offices in London Bridge to Kew Bridge and back. It is 32 years since he first took part in the London Marathon in 1988 for the Princes Trust.

He admitted he has not had as much time to train as usual because of the workload that has resulted from the crises the industry has faced in the last 12 months, starting with Thomas Cook’s collapse on September 23 last year.

He said: “I have been so busy since 23 September 2019 dealing with the 20 failures and Covid-19 crisis that have rocked our industry that it’s been much harder to find time to train for this year’s event, but as always it will be for the FHA.

“I am going to support their Give Them A Break campaign; I have been really impressed by the initiative of the campaign group of industry volunteers who came up with this idea.”

So far de Vial has raised £10,000 of £21, 625; he has topped up the amount slightly fundraising page to help Give Them A Break reach its target of £25,000.

Sponsor de Vial here