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Thomas Cook collapse: Kent employees jobless and tourists stranded

Hundreds of Thomas Cook employees in Kent have woken up to news they are out of work.

The global travel group has collapsed after 178 years of trading - leaving more than 150,000 Brits stranded abroad.

The company employs 22,000 people worldwide, including 9,000 in the UK.

Social media posts from employees and concerned family members show the upset and uncertainty that has been caused by the collapse.

In an emotional message published on Facebook one employee writes: "I have worked nearly 20 years in Going Places/ThomasCook, Deal, and wanted to say thank you so much for all your loyalty to our store .

"I absolutely loved working in our wonderful community.

"For many of you, I stopped seeing you as customers and regarded you more friends. You were all so special to me in many ways.

"From the five-year-old who sat on my knee and helped me press the button to confirm her first holiday to Disney to the 85-year-old man who wept in front of me when booking his first holiday after his wife of 60 years had passed.

"I have felt privileged to be part of your lives in the ups and downs. These memories I will cherish in my heart , they made my job so much more than just booking holidays.

"I am utterly heartbroken that Thomas Cook is no longer and that I won’t be there to share the wonderful memory of booking your holiday for you.

"I am so sorry for those of you being effected by this and I am still in shock that it came to this.

Thomas Cook in Deal High Street
Thomas Cook in Deal High Street

"These are such uncertain times but one thing I am certain of is that I feel truly blessed and proud to be part of this wonderful community.

"All my love, Millie."

One disappointed holidaymaker from Ashford is facing a 12-hour wait for a flight after the firm ceased trading overnight.

Another tweet states: "My girlfriend is asleep expecting to work tomorrow instead we now have to worry about paying the mortgage, a 2 year old nursery fees, Christmas around the corner, food shopping on just my wage now."

Last minute negotiations to save the company, which has 13 branches across the county including; Ashford, Gillingham, Hythe, Maidstone, Canterbury, Folkestone, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Dartford, Sheerness, Gravesend, Ramsgate and Tunbridge Wells, failed last night.

The travel agent in Deal High Street remains closed this morning
The travel agent in Deal High Street remains closed this morning

A 24-hour helpline has been set up for customers - 0300 3032800

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