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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2006, 08:59 GMT
Mystery man aids Farepak families
Catalogue detail from Farepak website
The Farepak collapse caused distress for families
A mystery business man has saved Christmas for 21 families in County Down who lost their savings when the hamper company Farepak collapsed.

Dolores Rice, a Farepak agent in Castlewellan, said the man arrived at her house and handed her 6,000 to give to her customers.

She said the man had read about their story in the local newspaper.

It is estimated up to 3,000 people in Northern Ireland lost money after the English company ceased trading.

Mrs Rice said she was amazed at the actions of her unknown visitor.

'Ordinary people'

"It's something you read about, it's just not something that happens to ordinary people like me and my customers," she said.

"We had saved for the whole year, and for a total stranger to come to the door and say, 'I can help,' is just unreal.

"If he's not going to heaven, there are none of us going."

Customers paid money monthly to the Swindon-based firm or its agents towards food hampers for the festive season.

The company ceased trading in October and said it was unable to honour its Christmas commitments this year. It is now in the hands of administrators.

The collapse of Farepak, owned by European Home Retail (EHR), is being examined by the company investigations branch of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Farepak, which also sold TVs, electrical goods and jewellery, employed 35,000 agents across the UK and had been trading since 1969.

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23 Oct 06 |  Northern Ireland
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20 Oct 06 |  Wiltshire

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