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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 December 2007, 13:59 GMT
'Christmas ruined' by Travelscope
Travelscope Holidays has gone into administration
The collapse of Travelscope Holidays has led to the cancellation of up to 10,000 eagerly anticipated Christmas and New Year breaks.

Some of the people affected have contacted the BBC with their stories of disappointment.


Harry McKeating and his wife were due to leave on Saturday morning for a six-day cruise to the Rhine Valley.

He found out on the news at 06.30am that Travelscope had collapsed.

"We packed yesterday and we'd even booked our taxi into town for 9am," he said.

"Then this morning I switched on the TV in bed and caught a brief bit about Travelscope. When I phoned the emergency number they just said, 'Your holiday is cancelled.'

"We booked in September and we were really looking forward to it. We went away for Christmas years ago, but this was the first one in a long time.

"To be honest, our Christmas has been ruined."

Mr McKeating and his wife paid about 850 for their holiday.

"Getting that money back is one thing, but it's not only that," he said.

"We don't know if we'll be properly compensated for the incidental things.

"I've got 700 in euros, I'll lose money on that. We've had to go to Tesco this morning because we had no food in. And Tesco on the Saturday before Christmas wasn't fun."

We don't like Christmas at home because it's too lonely
June Dolphin, Stroud

Mr McKeating said he was still "in shock" and had not decided what to do.

"We'll book something else, maybe at New Year, but I don't think we'll be able to get something else in the Rhine Valley.

"There's a German market in Edinburgh so that's probably as close as we'll get.

"I'm disappointed because I've always wanted to go to the Rhine and now this has happened."


June Dolphin and her husband, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, are devastated at missing out on their Christmas break to Austria.

They booked in May and should have been picked up at midnight on Friday.

Mrs Dolphin said: "I paid 743 in cash, and I've no idea if I'm going to get it back. I was told by the administrators that I wouldn't because I paid cash.

"I made a routine call to Travelscope at 2pm yesterday just to check the pick-up time and they said it had gone into administration.

"Then I got a call from them at 9.30pm to say the holiday wouldn't happen. The man on the phone said he'd lost his job, but had to ring round everyone.

"I'm gutted.

"We were really looking forward to it. We had a sleigh ride booked on Christmas morning, midnight mass the night before. Then a steam railway ride for my husband who's a steam enthusiast on Boxing Day.

Our Christmas has been absolutely destroyed
Valerie Hunt, Westcliffe

"We go away because we don't like Christmas at home because it's too lonely."

Mrs Dolphin said she had trusted Travelscope after taking a cruise with them in January, but began to get anxious when they could not tell her which hotels they would be staying in.

"Then last week I rang them to say we hadn't got the coach seating arrangements and they said they hadn't done a seating plan.

"So I think there were things amiss a few months ago, but they obviously took our money and our balances and weren't saying anything."


Valerie Hunt, from Westcliff, Essex, was due to go on a seven-day break to Austria on Saturday with her daughter Gemma.

She is on income support, but saved up 600 to pay for the trip, and she heard it was cancelled from her travel agent on Friday.

"Our Christmas has been absolutely destroyed," she said.

"I'm a single parent and I'm down on myself anyway at this time of year because I don't have a partner.

"I live in a high-rise block too, so I was really looking forward to getting away and having a break.

"There was going to be entertainment put on and I was looking forward to meeting Austrian people who are supposed to be very nice."

It's something we've been looking forward to for two-and-a-half years
Lynton Mason, Chesyln Hay

Ms Hunt said she had been left with "little time to salvage Christmas", and placed the blame squarely with Travelscope's management.

"In my opinion Travelscope should have informed their customers and staff of their financial needs before the Christmas period to prevent disappointment.

"However, due to the naivety of bosses they have single-handedly cancelled Christmas this year. They shouldn't be able to get away with it."


Lynton Mason and his wife, who are from Cheslyn Hay, Staffordshire, are booked onto a round-the-world cruise with Travelscope.

They were expecting to leave on 4 January, but now have no idea whether the trip will go ahead.

"As of now we haven't heard from anyone, although we are in no doubt that with what has happened, we will not be travelling," Mr Mason said.

"I'm devastated really. It's something we've been looking forward to for two-and-a-half years and now this has happened."

The trip cost thousands of pounds, but that is not the Masons' main concern.

"Of course the money is important, but it's the holiday that really matters," Mr Mason said.

"I think it's too late now to transfer onto something else and I don't know how long it'll take to get the money back.

"We don't know what to do. We're just gobsmacked."


John Hughes, from Y Felinheli, Gwynedd, should have left for the German valleys on Saturday night with his wife and two friends.

They heard about the cancellation on the BBC and have had no contact from Travelscope.

"We are very disappointed because we were really looking forward to it," Mr Hughes said.

"It would have been the first Christmas away from home for us all. My wife's very, very disappointed, she's worse than me. She cried this morning about it.

"We'll just stay at home now. Hopefully we'll get the money back and book a holiday somewhere else next year, but it's not good enough."

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