Devastated Burnley mum prepares to tell son (seven) that dream Christmas holiday cancelled after collapse of holiday company giant Thomas Cook
Tracey Pickup had only £358 left to pay towards the £2,250 holiday for herself and her seven-year-old son Lewis and her husband, Stephen, when the company crashed on Monday.
And now Tracey cannot face telling her son, who has been counting down the days to the holiday all year.
Tracey (49) said: "I know he will be heartbroken because he keeps asking how many more sleeps until we go.
"I am putting off telling him as long as I can in the hope I can get my money back and we can find another holiday."
Tracey and Stephen (45) had been paying each month towards the holiday to Fuerteventura to stay in the four star all inclusive Princess Hotel.
They were due to fly out on Boxing Day for a week after Lewis, who has just started at Holy Trinity Primary School in Burnley, spent Christmas Day with his dad in Rochdale.
Tracey added: "We had been explaining to Lewis that Father Christmas would still be able to find him and he would bring him his presents there. It was going to be really special and the furthest we have ever travelled together as a family.
"It so disappointing and I feel so sorry for all the people who have lost their jobs and the people stranded abroad."
As she paid for the holiday in instalments through direct debit Tracey is worried she won't be able to claim her money back. And although the holiday was ATOL protected it could take up to two months for a claim to be processed.
Tracey, who lives in Burnley, said: "The bank have cancelled any outstanding payments but it doesn't look like they will be able to refund my money either.
"I have tried getting in touch with ATOL but it keeps going to voicemail all the time."
In a statement on Monday the Civil Aviation Authority said the 178 year old holiday firm had 'ceased trading with immediate effect.'
The tour operator's failure puts the 9,000 jobs in the UK at risk,including staff who work at the Burnley branches in Chancery Walk and Curzon Street.
It is also triggered the biggest ever peacetime repatriation, aimed at bringing more than 150,000 British holidaymakers home.