Kind-hearted travel professionals are getting ready to run the Virtual Virgin Money London Marathon to raise vital funds for colleagues in need through ABTA LifeLine, the charity that supports professionals in the travel industry. Set to take place on 3 October, the virtual fundraiser comes at a time when many travel professionals are struggling financially and mentally. The outbound travel industry has been one of the most affected sectors by the pandemic according to ONS figures* and 7 in 10 travel companies plan to make redundancies after furlough ends.**

ABTA LifeLine Director, Trudie Clements, said: 

“Every week, I get requests that range from people who have lost their jobs and can’t put food on the table, pay their bills or even need clothes to attend job interviews; to more complex personal circumstances which may range from bereavement to mental health support.

“After an incredibly disruptive 18 months for the travel industry, this marathon is a brilliant example of how community groups and volunteers can help travel peers in desperate need. This fundraiser plays a crucial role in enabling LifeLine to continue to offer support that can be lifechanging to many. I would like to thank each and every runner and the people who so kindly donate to their pages.”   

Team Avis Budget Group saw this challenge as an excellent team building opportunity and they will be walking the marathon together throughout the day. They are training together too, meeting up regularly to walk 10 miles and sharing top tips with each other.

Travel and Partnerships Manager, Sophie Nelson, put the group together after volunteering for LifeLine for 9 months. “I have seen first-hand how instrumental ABTA LifeLine is in supporting our travel colleagues in need. LifeLine is the heart of our industry: donations help pay for essential bills to keep families in their homes and help fund vital mental health support,” she said.

Sara Grieve is a Financial Administrator at ABTA’s sustainability certification programme, Travelife, and she decided to step out of her comfort zone to fundraise for peers in industry. “When I began training for this marathon, I was a beginner: I was completely out of breath after 90 seconds running! But I want to be able to provide LifeLine with more funds to help people in need; I realise the end of furlough will mean even more job losses.”

Giles Hawke is the CEO of Cosmos Tours and Avalon. Although Giles has never run a full marathon, he has stepped up his training routine by walking, running or cycling daily. His ultimate goal is to help industry colleagues in need: “The travel industry has been good to me for almost 30 years and others have lost their livelihoods and jobs through no fault of their own. This marathon feels like the right thing to do to help them as best as I can.”

Colleagues in the travel industry can donate through the following fundraising pages:

Team Avis Budget Group’s fundraising page:    

Sara Grieve’s fundraising page:

Giles Hawke’s fundraising page:

* ONS figures on "Coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy" 

** ABTA Member survey September 2021

For further information, contact:



Twitter: @ABTALifeLine