A GRANDMA whose husband died shortly after her house was badly-damaged in floods has thanked 'absolutely lovely' hotel staff for giving her a happy Christmas.

Kate Percival's home was flooded three times during stormy weather in August, September, and October, before her husband, Brian, died of pneumonia.

But the 53-year-old, who is wheelchair-bound after suffering a stroke around 15 years ago, has been helped to overcome a difficult few months thanks to the warm welcome she has received at the Bolton Whites Hotel.

Mrs Percival was moved into the hotel at the Macron Stadium in November while her house, in Chorley Old Road, is being repaired and praised the 'incredible' generosity of staff.

The mum-of-two, who has one grandchild, said: "Everyone has been so helpful — it's almost like I have become a member of staff here now.

"I cannot say thank you enough, they have been as helpful as they could possibly be.

"On top of the floods, what made it really difficult for me and my children was that my husband died.

"With everything else going on, it was just something I couldn't cope with."

Her daughter, Christine Tomlin, added: "She has had a lovely time. It has been a really tough few months for her but she has been in a really sunny mood lately because of the way she has been treated.

"I don't know what we would have done without the hotel staff.

"She has been in a lovely penthouse room and she loves it. She has been taken in as a friend, not just a guest."

Hotel staff, too, have been moved by Mrs Percival's sunny disposition through such trying times.

Suzanne Speak, the hotel's general manager, said: "In the time that she has been here, Kate has almost become part of the team.

"It has been a pleasure to have her around and we will all miss her when she goes.

"She has such a wonderful personality and an infectious laugh.

"I think she has felt really connected here. We have a very close-knit team here and I think her seeing familiar faces every day has been good for her. And it helps the staff to see her smiling face too, at a time when they are really busy.

"She has reminded us all of the importance of being good to people at Christmas."

Spa Road-based contractors HeightVale have also been praised for going 'above and beyond' in their efforts to make Mrs Percival's flood-damaged property a home again.

Her insurers, who are paying for the hotel stay, had wanted to move Kate into a Premier Inn, but Whites bosses agreed to only charge what she would have paid elsewhere so that she could stay with them.

She is hoping to move back in this week, but will miss the friends she has made at the hotel.

She added: "I have seen a football match, which Wanderers won, and the panto as well. I hadn't seen a panto since I was about eight years old, so that was a real treat for me.

"Everyone has been absolutely lovely with me, the generosity they have shown me has been incredible and there is a part of me that doesn't want to leave."