A TRAVEL agent is aiming to put the heartbreak of Thomas Cook's collapse behind her by striking out on her own.

Kerry Latham had worked in the travel industry for more than 20 years when problems began for the travel giant.

Eighteen of these had been with Thomas Cook and 12 for their stores in Bolton and Middlebrook.

But after being offered a potential future with successors Hays Travel, Kerry decided to fulfill a long-held dream and go self-employed.

She signed up with theTravel Counsellors network and is looking to bring her expertise to customers old and new,

Kerry said: "I felt like my whole world had fallen apart when Thomas Cook disappeared overnight.

"I was devastated, not just for myself and my TC family but more so for my customers.

"They has some amazing trips planned at it was all taken away from me to help them. I felt powerless.

"I received e-mails, messages, cards and even flowers from some customers and this was so lovely.

"After taking time out and reflecting I decided that it was time to follow a dream, becoming self-employed and joining forces with another TC, Travel Counsellors."

She has been working recently with a recruiter from the company, learning the ropes, and is convinced she has made the right choice.

"The offer of working for Hays, just wasn't an option," she added,

"Travel Counsellors have an amazing family worth ethic and are an amazing company that have just celebrated 25 years in the industry."

She is now looking to make contact with any of her former customers and is planning to hold a get-together at Costa, in Middlebrook, on Friday, from 10am until noon.

Travel has always been an abiding passion for Kerry and she names Orlando, New York and the Canary Islands among her own personal favourites.

But she says she has a particular soft spot for cruise holidays and has a sneaking admiration for the Magic Kingdom in Florida.

Kerry can be reached on 01942 470005 or via e-mail on Kerry.latham@travelcounsellors.com