LONG-SERVING staff at a travel agent's in Alloa thanked loyal customers for their support after Thomas Cook went under.

Manager Marie Campbell and the shop's Margo Nicoll are looking into the future under the Hays Travel brand which took over the office following the collapse last month.

The news came as quite a shock for local staff, who were left in limbo for around three weeks as details on how Hays would take over were being ironed out.

Marie, who has 43 years of service under her belt, was accompanying a cruise to the Caribbean when she heard that her employer Thomas Cook had stopped trading.

She said: "It came as a shock for me because the last thing I was expecting was to go on holiday and come back and our company wasn't here.

"It was a shock to everybody in the team."

Luckily people on her tour did not experience the negative effects as it was a cruise with British Airways flights.

However, with the future hanging in the balance, staff could do nothing but start looking for jobs.

However, Marie and Margo were comforted by support they received from loyal customers, friends and other businesses, the manager singling out Diane Brown from Alloa First for her help.

Marie explained people went out of their way to find out where staff were when the shop was closed and she gave thanks for flowers, cards and other gifts received, adding it was "just amazing".

She added: "The friendship, the love and support we've had from the town and the customers has been overwhelming."

It was a rollercoaster of emotions for the team, but Marie is already enjoying being a part of the Hays family and spoke highly of the in-company support the local shop is receiving.

The Thomas Cook sign will be coming off the shop front and the premises will be rebranded to Hays eventually.

Marie is also looking for more staff, with people who have experience working with customers face-to-face said to be ideal candidates.

Margo, who has been working at the shop for 32 years, explained the uncertainty followed by the company's collapse was "horrendous", but she was elated when Hays announced it would take on the Alloa shop.

"I couldn't imagine doing anything else; I've done it that long", she added.

Steven Reilly, regional manager, has 21 years of experience and previously said the demise of Thomas Cook was "hard to take for everyone".

Speaking as he was visiting the Alloa shop, he was now looking forward to seeing the experienced local team back in action.

He said: "The people book in Alloa because of the team.

"Regardless of the name that's up the door, they'll get the same fantastic service that we've always had in this store, but we will be able to offer our customers a much wider range of products."