A PENSIONER who fought back from a terrible disease has seen her dream holiday scuppered by the snow.
Estelle Brace, of Drayton Gardens, West Drayton, is making alternative Christmas and New Year plans afte rher festive three-week break in America and Hawaii was ruined by the snowfall which brought the country to a standstill.
In September 2009, The Gazette reported how Mrs Brace, a keen dancer, faced having her leg amputated after catching necrotising fasciitis, a rare flesh-eating disease.
She was treated at Hillingdon Hospitalfor the aggressive infection, and needed skin grafts.
Mrs Brace said the trip would have been her first holiday since the ordeal. "I have had a rotten year, and this has really capped it off," she said last week.
"I have been saving the pennies for this all year, as a little reward to myself, and a lot of planning went into making it a wonderful holiday."
Mrs Brace, 75, was due to fly to New York on December 19 and stop over for three days, before flying on to Los Angeles for a cruise to Hawaii, returning on January 8.
She said: "Everything was sorted Ð all the transportation, my visa, and I even checked the airline's website the day before to see whether flights were still going.
"When I arrived at Terminal Four an attendant just told me that my holiday had been cancelled. I was devastated.
"I wanted to go to Ground Zero and Central Park, and see Times Square lighted up.
"I haven't been to Hawaii for years, but its a lovely place with very friendly people, and I was looking forward to Christmas in the sun!"
"I was meant to be away, of course, and my daughters have made their own arrangements, so I imagine I will be on my own for Christmas and New Year. It's heartbreaking."
Mrs Brace was one of hundreds of thousands of air passengers across the UK whose holidays were wrecked by sub-zero conditions during Christmas week.
Witnessing first hand the plight of those stranded at Heathrow Airport hoping to get away in time for Christmas, she said: "Baggage was piled up on trolleys, everyone was wrapped up in silver foil.
"It was like a crowd at a football match; total chaos.
"I am grateful I can just come straight home, and thankfully I am insured so I should be able to get my money back, but it's hardly consolation.
"Maybe I can go next year, but as you get older you are restricted to a certain degree. Hopefully this wasn't my last chance."