Family’s holiday in ruins after the collapse of currency firm

KESGRAVE: A devastated mother of two severely disabled children today told how their plans for a dream family holiday were ruined after she lost �900 following the collapse of a currency firm.

Emily Hook, 36, lost the funds when Crown Currency Exchange went into administration last month – owing �20million to people across the UK.

Mrs Hook, of Wainwright Way, Kesgrave, ordered the money as US currency for a trip to Orlando with her husband Paul, 46, and their wheelchair-bound children Tash, 17, and Daniel, 12.

Mrs Hook, a full-time carer, had planned the trip a year in advance due to the fact her children both suffer from the highly rare disease Severe Axonal-Sensory Motor Neuropathy with Optic Atrophy. The youngsters, who go to Kesgrave High School, have also been left distraught.

The irreversible condition, which cases the eye muscles to deteriorate, is so rare that Mrs Hook believes her children are among only a handful of people worldwide to have it.

She has now written to Ipswich MP Ben Gummer in a last-ditch attempt to claim back her money, but she believes it may be too late.

Mrs Hook said: “We’re devastated by what has happened. I don’t know whether anything can be done. It’s an enormous amount of money to lose.

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“The holiday took a year to plan because we had to book a specially-adapted villa and car for the children. Luckily, the charity Promised Dreams helped us to do that and part-funded the holiday. But then this happened and it’s a left a big cloud over everything.

“My children are upset because my husband and I are upset. We’ve been told we may only get 15 per cent back and even that’s doubtful.”

Mrs Hook ordered the money from Travel Money Services, a subsidiary of Crown Currency, after being recommended the firm by a friend.

She added: “The company had traded for several years and was seen as a safe way to order currency in advance of a holiday.

“Rates were two to three per cent better than the high street and the company had been recommended by many financial experts in the media.

“I believe that 13,000 people have lost a total of �20m through the collapse. My financial knowledge isn’t great, but surely there should have been better regulation.

“We have only ever had two family holidays together and have had to scrimp and save for this one.

“We will still go but probably won’t be able to do all the things we planned there.”

Since Crown Currency Exchange collapsed, administrators MCR and SPW have been appointed to oversee its accounts and plan to contact all those affected.

n Have you been affected by the company’s collapse? Call The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or e-mail