Travel chief John Hays dies at company head office
Mr Hays bought hundreds of Thomas Cook shops
The founder of Hays Travel John Hays has died after collapsing at his head office in Sunderland.
Mr Hays, who started the travel firm in 1980, was married to co-owner Irene Hays.
The couple won widespread praise in October last year when they prevented thousands of former Thomas Cook staff from losing their jobs by purchasing all 555 of the collapsed tour operator’s UK travel agencies.
Hays Travel said in a statement: “It is with the deepest sadness and regret that we have to announce that John Hays, the founder and managing director of Hays Travel, died today while doing the job he loved.
“John built Hays Travel into the UK’s largest independent travel agent providing jobs and careers for thousands of young people over 40 years.
“Throughout this past difficult year he did everything in his power to save jobs and protect the travel industry.”