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, Accrington, Rawtenstall, Ramsbottom 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."

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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.