THE collapse of travel firm Thomas Cook has left thousands of passengers from the UK stranded abroad and has resulted in the closure of the company’s high street shops.

In the wake of the collapse the government has launched the biggest peacetime repatriation to bring home any travellers stranded abroad.

But this news will be of little comfort for the staff and customers of Thomas Cook’s Whitchurch branch, who will now be counting the cost of alternative plans.

Sarah Marshall, from Oswestry, is one of the many thousands of UK holidaymakers left stranded abroad following the company's collapse.

"We're in Crete at the moment and due to fly back tomorrow to Manchester," said Sarah.

"We haven't heard anything personally and we only found out the same time as everyone else, on the news.

"We have had to follow advice on the news and find out our flight information this morning online.

"However the Thomas Cook rep has come to the hotel today off her own back this morning to help people which I think is really good of her as she doesn't even know if she's getting paid for it or if she has anywhere to live.

"Yesterday I was very concerned about getting home as no statement from Thomas Cook was issued to its customers currently abroad.

"But there does seem to be a new flight allocated to us tomorrow by the Civil Aviation Authority.

"The only thing we're not sure of is if our transfer to the airport is still happening."

The Government is now working with the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to help passengers return to the UK.

Depending on their location, this will be either on CAA-operated flights or by using existing flights with other airlines.

This will apply to both ATOL protected passengers and those who are not protected.

Meanwhile the CAA say where possible they are aiming for the repatriation flights to be as close as possible to the original return time and date.

Different repatriation arrangements are being made for different locations, and details of new flights back to the UK should be checked.

In a small number of cases, passengers may be asked to book their own return flights on existing flights with other airlines and claim the cost of this back.

Holidaymakers yet to travel abroad are now having to seek compensation and the CAA will be launching a refund service on Monday, September 30.