A GROUP of friends stranded in the south of Spain were among the first wave of holidaymakers to fly home to the UK.

Nicky Davies, 25, of Northop, was on holiday in the resort of Murcia with her brother Rob, 22, and six friends from Flintshire and Manchester when the volcanic ash crisis hit.

The pals were due to return on Sunday, but as the situation worsened they feared they may have been stuck abroad until May 9.

But after a huge effort by their parents the group managed to get a flight.

Nicky, who works for Flintshire County Council’s social services department, said:

“We are ecstatic, over the moon. It is a huge relief. My parents have had to pay for eight flights on their credit card.

“We were supposed to be coming home on April 18. It was on Thursday we realised there was a problem: a friend was supposed to come out and meet us.

Then the situation worsened.

“We have been stuck in limbo for days. We have all felt a little lost. We were told at one point the next flight could be May 9. We have all spent quite a lot of money researching how to get home.”

Back in Flintshire, Nicky and Rob’s mum Pauline and dad Gareth were working with other parents to get them home.

Pauline said: “It has been a mega effort on behalf of all the parents. It has cost me £4,000, which I’m hoping to get back. We are just glad they are coming home.

“We have paid for two sets of flights. The first lot were all disjointed, but we managed to get them on the same flight. It has been a mess. The communication has been dire.”

Annette Lewis, 48, of Bagillt, has been unable to sleep while her daughter Rebecca Farrer, who was with the group, was stranded and even considered hiring a mini-bus to pick them up.

She said: “It has been awful. They are all so young. I don’t think we have had a lot of support.”