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Hays Travel confirms death of founder John Hays

hays travel, john hays

John Hays, the founder of Hays Travel, has died, it has been announced.

In a statement the company said: “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, who with his wife and co-owner Irene Hays bought the Thomas Cook retail estate a year ago, was at work in the company’s Sunderland head office when he collapsed.

“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.

“He was held in immense respect by his staff, colleagues, family and friends and was recognised throughout his life for his many achievements.

“He was equally proud of his loyal staff who, under the direction of the board and senior management team, will ensure that the business continues to serve the customers of the UK’s largest independent travel agent as he would have wanted.”

Last year Hays Travel purchased the retail estate of Thomas Cook.

ABTA stated: “We were shocked and saddened to hear John Hays has passed away. John was a major figure in the industry and created one of the industry’s most successful companies.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with his wife Irene and his family, colleagues and friends at this very sad time.”

Seabourn and Holland America Line UK & Ireland managing director Lynn Narraway tweeted: “I cannot believe it. Huge condolences to all. He was such a lovely man and legend.”

CLIA said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the heartbreaking news about the sudden passing of John Hays, founder and managing director of Hays Travel. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time.”

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