Bobby and Christi Shepherd's mother Sharon Wood blasts Harriet Green's £3m donation as "abhorrent"

 
Catherine Neilan
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Neil Shepherd and Sharon Wood at their children's funeral in 2006 (Source: Getty)
The mother of the children who died at a Thomas Cook-approved hotel in Corfu has slammed Harriet Green's decision to donate £3m to charity as “abhorrent”.
Sharon Wood, whose children Christi and Bobby Shepherd were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in 2006, said she only learned about the donation shortly before the public announcement was made - “before we had a chance to discuss it as a family”.
“Yet again it appears to us that our family are secondary despite the fact that our children are at the heart of this,” Wood said in a statement today.
“If there is any suggestion that we had involvement in the decision-making process, that is simply wrong and I wish to make that clear now. If Harriet Green feels the need to offload some of the money to salve her conscience, that is her decision to make. To try to gain public empathy by attaching her donation to the memory of our Christi and Bobby I find abhorrent.”
Green, who left Thomas Cook in November, had come under huge pressure after it emerged she was receiving shares worth around £10m as part of her remuneration package.
She announced on Wednesday she would donate £3m of that to the charity set up by parents Sharon Wood and Neil Shepherd, saying she had “reached out” to both of them.
But Wood denied this, saying neither she nor Shepherd had received any communication.
The statement said:

We would like to set the record straight. Neil never received any such letter. Neil wrote to Harriet Green for the first time on 30 July 2013. He then made it clear on no less than five occasions over the course of the next five months that he had still not received any response from her. He is still waiting. Neil’s correspondence will be provided to the media today.

As for me, Harriet Green has never had the humanity or compassion to write to me as the bereaved mother of Christi and Bobby and as far as I am aware, she makes no claim to having done this. I would have liked to have met with Harriet Green this week but I have been told that she is out of the country.

The travel agent has had its reputation tarnished after it emerged that it had failed to apologise to Wood and Shepherd for nearly 10 years. The compensation the company received after the deaths was also found to have dwarfed the amounts the parents received.
Wood said it was not for the family to comment on Green's bonus, but added: " If the company’s brand has suffered, those at the top of the organisation must accept responsibility in relation to the decisions made over the handling of us as a bereaved family."

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