A STRICKEN family are facing a bleak Christmas after the collapse of a hamper firm robbed them of all their festive savings.
Now the mum and dad from the Colne Valley, who asked not to be identified, say they are so ashamed they can't break the news to their two children that Christmas is cancelled.
The couple, who are both out of work, have lost £350 after Farepak collapsed, owing thousands of pounds to customers around the country.
Administrators BDO Stoy Hayward were put in charge of the Swindon-based company on Friday, October 13.
The proud mum said that watching her children write out their Christmas lists this year would be heartbreaking, rather than a joyful family affair.
She added: "I want my children to be able to ask what they want for at Christmas and not have to think about mummy and daddy's financial situation.
"How do you tell a child that there's no money for Christmas because of what's happened. They wouldn't understand."
The mum said her family had studiously saved up all year to have a nice Christmas.
She added: "My husband saw the news and told me. I couldn't believe it. I was devastated
"We don't have much money, so we have been having the hampers for four years and never had any problem.
"We don't have any credit or store cards because we don't want to get into debt.
"But it looks like this year we have no choice if we want to have any sort of Christmas."
The mum said they were in limbo.
She added: "We haven't heard anything from the company.
"We have just been getting information from the media.
"We just feel powerless. It is so depressing.
"Imagine being a parent and having to tell your children there is no money for presents.
"It will be heartbreaking at what should be the happiest time of the year for a family."
John Field, from Consumer Direct, which is part of Trading Standards, said: "We have received many calls from Farepak customers who want to know if they can get their money back.
"While we would encourage people to claim if they have lost money, we also want to ensure that people understand there are no guarantees of reimbursement.
"When companies go into administration customers are deemed to be unsecured creditors.
"They are therefore potentially at the end of a long list of other creditors who are paid first.
"Only after these payments have been made - and if there is any money left over - can the administrators consider reimbursing affected customers."
* Farepak customers and agents should send notice of any claim by post to Farepak Food and Gifts Ltd, in Administration, King's Wharf, 20-30 King's Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 3EX, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 01793 606057.
Customers should include the amount of money claimed, when and how it was originally paid and any copies (not originals) of payment receipts.