Hero of Monarch gave staff free food after airline went bust

John Haines said the company was ‘close to my heart’ after giving away 150 meals to employees (Picture: PA)

A pub owner offered Monarch Airlines staff a free lunch after the company ceased trading, to help bring colleagues together for ‘one final time’.

Staff members congregated at the White Horse in Tea Green, a village near the airline’s Luton headquarters, following a meeting outlining the company’s administration on Monday morning.

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Jon Haines, 37, who took over the pub in 2009 after working for Monarch’s training department, said the company was one ‘close to my heart’.

He told the Press Association he had given away at least 150 meals to employees from a specially-printed menu.

He said: ‘It was a spur of the moment thing. I just woke up this morning and saw it on Facebook.

‘Because I used to work for Monarch it’s quite close to my heart so I thought it would be a nice thing to let everyone come together one final time and have a drink and feed them while they are here.

‘It’s gone down really well amongst everybody, so I’m glad I did it.’

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Mr Haines said the butcher had been ‘backwards and forwards’ supplying more meat due to the high demand.

He added: ‘It’s been overwhelming, it’s been more than I could have imagined.

‘The idea behind it was just to give somewhere to come and sort of have a chat and a cry and say goodbye to their friends.’

Mr Haines said there had been ‘mixed feelings’ among Monarch employees, with some appearing ‘a bit sombre’ and others seeing it as a ‘celebration and time to move on’.

He said the impact of Monarch’s closure on the local area was a ‘big concern’ but added: ‘I’m sure people will bounce back.’

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