Agent Kate Harris, who broke down on a recent Travel Weekly webcast as she described her struggle to save her business from the Covid crisis, has been given a lifeline by a mystery donor.
An anonymous industry executive contacted Travel Weekly to offer financial help after watching Harris’s tearful appearance and later transferred an undisclosed sum of money to her agency, Inspired Travel, based in Burbage, Leicestershire.
Harris, who has run the agency for more than 14 years, said she was “completely humbled”, adding: “Overwhelmed doesn’t sum up how I felt. I can’t believe it’s happened to me and I feel so incredibly lucky as I know there are other agents out there losing their businesses.”
In a letter to her mystery donor, Harris wrote: “I’m still trying to get my head around someone who doesn’t know me feeling compelled to donate such a generous amount.”
The money will enable Harris to keep on her “relieved” sole employee, Gaynor, for five hours a week until the end of March rather than just to the end of January, and to continue to pay the mortgage on her shop, which she bought in February, until March.
“This will be so important for us when people are confident about rebooking,” she wrote.
Harris has taken on a second job, as a Covid study worker for the Office for National Statistics, to pay for the mortgage on her home, having “not taken a penny from the business” since February.
Referring to the mystery donation, she said: “This is such a relief for my mental health.
“Little did I know, when I agreed to take part in the Travel Weekly webcast, that so much of what I said would cause so much to happen”.
In the message to the mystery donor, she said: “Please know I will never forget your kindness and generosity. I will ‘pay it forward’ in other ways to ensure others benefit from your kindness.”
The donor told Travel Weekly: “It’s a pleasure to help. I hope Kate makes it through; she is remarkable.”