23rd June 2021
Thank You Day began with just 13 individual members of the public proposing the day. Sandra was one of them. Here’s her story.
Just before the first lockdown last year, I lost my brother Gary to pancreatic cancer. This was just months after his diagnosis. I own a travel company, based here in Northern Ireland where I live, and Gary was the Financial Director. Gary was such a fun presence in the office, so it’s been difficult for us not having him around anymore. Things became even more challenging as the pandemic hit and immediately had a massive impact on the travel industry.
For Thank You Day, I’ll be saying a big thank you to all the people who stepped up to support me over the past year. I really appreciate how hard my colleagues fought to help me keep the business going. We’ve all been extremely busy connecting with customers who had holidays planned, making alternative arrangements for them and claiming refunds.
My family helped out too: my son assisted with the business alongside his university studies and my sister-in-law left her job to join us as our company accountant. Our customers were also wonderful. They were so supportive and have engaged with everything we’ve done to reach out to them over the last year.
As a business, we stayed connected and positive even when things were tough and we had to work apart. We organised virtual coffee mornings, cookery demonstrations and relaxation classes. We got people to bring their pets on screen during one of our coffee mornings. I was expecting to just see dogs, but one colleague brought on her goat – I didn’t even know she had a goat!
I want to thank the other members in my Rotary club for supporting me hugely. Some of them are business owners and others have accountancy and banking backgrounds, and I appreciated their offers of practical advice with the business. One of the things I like most about the Rotary is the fellowship and that’s shone through in the last year. We’ve had to move all our meetings online and haven’t been able to take part in as many local community-based projects as usual, but I know our club members have continued checking up on each other to make sure everyone’s ok.
I’ll also be giving thanks to everyone who has supported any fundraising efforts in memory of Gary over the past year. His son Craig started the fundraising by colouring his hair purple. My son did a charity run and Wallace High School, where I’m Chair of the Board of Governors, put on an auction, both raising funds for Pancreatic Cancer charities. We raised money at work for the Cancer Fund for Children, one of my brother’s favourite charities, with each staff-member taking on a challenge to improve their wellbeing over fifty days. I think Gary would have felt really humbled and delighted at all the people who have got involved in things so dear to him.
I’m celebrating Thank You Day by organising a big get-together for my Rotary Club, with a barbecue, music and cocktails. It’ll be the first time we’ve seen each other face-to-face in ages, so I’m really excited to say thank you to everyone for their support by putting on a special day for us all to remember.
The pandemic has had such a negative effect on so many people and Thank You Day allows us to turn the negativity around into something positive. Once you start to think about it, I’m sure we can all think of someone who has helped us get through.
Meet all the Thank You Day proposers.