HOLIDAYMAKERS in East Lancashire - booked on a Thomas Cook package holiday - have been assured that the money they have forked out is safe.

Bosses at Althams Travel have pledged that they are doing all that they can to make alternative arrangements for travellers after the 178-year-old firm filed for bankruptcy.

And directors of the East Lancs travel agency, which has shops in Blackburn, Darwen, and Chorley, have expressed their dismay at the company's collapse.

An Althams spokesman said: "We are deeply saddened by the news of Thomas Cook's collapse and our thoughts are with their employees and families.

"It is a very sad day in the travel industry. Althams customers booked on a Thomas Cook holiday - please rest assured that your money is protected and our experienced branch staff will be working tirelessly to assist all our customers with sourcing alternative holiday arrangements. Due to the high volume of bookings we would kindly ask that you bear with us as we will be working through bookings in departure date order but of course, should you have any immediate concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us."

Meanwhile the Civil Aviation Authority is undertaking the largest peace-time repatriation effort, as it looks to bring 250,000 Britons, stranded abroad by Thomas Cook's demise, back to the UK. Chorley-based Cruise 118 also posted an update on their Facebook page.

It said: "We are aware of the recent news that Thomas Cook have ceased trading and are deeply saddened for all affected. We would like to take the time to reassure all of our customers who have booked a holiday including Thomas Cook flights that they are fully protected. Any customers who are affected will be contacted as soon as possible with further details on flight arrangements.

"Your holiday is safe with us and we ensure that any cruises booked with flights are financially protected, meaning your money is completely safe.

"Our Cruise Concierge are on hand for any further advice and to provide you with the information you require."

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