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Life-size in bronze and pocket-watch in hand
he stands where it began, by Leicester station.
Meet Thomas Cook, inventor of the brand
for package holidays across the nation.

A philanthropic chap. A temperance trip
to Loughborough (how exotic!) on the train—
a beneficial outing, and a snip:
one shilling each, return, and moderate gain.

Long decades pass. It isn’t for the better.
Teetotal jaunts have gone. It’s hedonists,
holding the all-in package to the letter;
sun, sex and sangria on their bucket lists.

And now? The centre couldn’t hold. Collapse
and bankrupt, everywhere you look.
His statue should be draped in black, perhaps.
It started out so well. Poor Thomas Cook.


Staue of Thomas Cook looking left