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Thomas Cook stops trading after 178 years with jobs in West Norfolk lost

Thomas Cook, which has stores in Lynn and Fakenham, has stopped trading after 178 years.

Empty planes from around the world have been drafted in to bring more than 150,000 British tourists back home. Britain's biggest ever peacetime reparation has been codenamed Operation Matterhorn.

The travel firm employed 9,000 people in the UK, and has branches in Lynn's High Street and Millers Walk in Fakenham.

Talks to try and secure a last-minute rescue deal failed overnight after reports claimed the firm was facing a £200million black hole in its finances.

The Government and the UK CAA aim to fly people as close as possible to their booked return date – so customers are being strongly advised not to cut short their holiday or go to the airport without checking the website for information about their return journey.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: "Thomas Cook’s collapse is very sad news for staff and holidaymakers.

Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook

"The Government and UK CAA is working round the clock to help people. Our contingency planning has helped acquire planes from across the world – some from as far away as Malaysia – and we have put hundreds of people in call centres and at airports.

"But the task is enormous, the biggest peacetime repatriation in UK history. So there are bound to be problems and delays. Please try to be understanding with the staff who are trying to assist in what is likely to be a very difficult time for them as well."

A 24 hour helpline has been set up for customers - 0300 303 2800.

Premier Travel, which has a branch in Swaffham's Market Place, has said all customers who have Thomas Cook bookings through the firm are "100 per cent financially protected".

The travel agent has set up an emergency team at its head office to coordinate the efforts to contact all affected customers.

Director of Premier Travel, Paul Waters, said: "Our customers and their travel plans are of the utmost importance to us at this time and our priority is communicating with them to reduce the impact of this failure.

"Our thoughts and best wishes go out to all of our colleagues and friends within the Thomas Cook Group at this time and all customers whose holidays are affected. Thomas Cook have been operating since 1841 and have been a huge supporter of independent travel agents since their inception and will be greatly missed.”

Have you been directly affected by Thomas Cook's collapse? If so, please contact The Lynn News .

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