Hays Travel Foundation brings happiness to hundreds of North East children with incredible panto surprise

A much-loved travel firm who saved thousands of jobs after the collapse of Thomas Cook has gone above and beyond once more to bring happiness to children in the region.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 10:30 am

The Hays Travel Foundation – the charitable arm of Hays Travel – booked out the Customs House theatre in South Shields to give youngsters the chance to enjoy pantomime Snow White.

Hays Travel have sponsored the Customs House pantomime for more than a decade and this is the third year that the travel company’s Foundation has booked out a performance of the panto so that children from local charities can attend for free.

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John Hays and the Customs House’s Ray Spencer with Hays Travel Foundation trustees. From left to right, David Gregory, John Hays, Joan Fleetwood, Dave Fleetwood, Ray Spencer as Dame Bella Ballcock, Dorothy Gregory and Mike Dillon.

Mandy Sousa, manager of the Hays Travel Foundation, said: “This is our third year hosting the pantomime at the Customs House.

“It is always an amazing day, and I am so happy to be part of it.

“Seeing the children’s reactions, laughing and singing with the cast, is really quite emotional.

“It gives me great pride to be working for the Hays Travel Foundation and to have the opportunity to organise this event and to work with these great organisations.”

Parkhead Community Primary School in Newcastle was one of the organisations benefiting from the event.

Carl Black, the school’s special educational needs coordinator, said: “The children were filled with joy from start to finish and all said how much fun they had.”

The Hays Travel Foundation was founded in 2015, providing funding to charities up and down the country who help young people achieve and be the best that they can be in their health, sport, the arts and education.And the kindness of Hays Travel comes following a year which saw it offer jobs to more than 2,300 former Thomas Cook employees after the travel giant went into liquidation in September 2019.

Joint owners John and Irene Hayes also opened 450 former Thomas Cook stores in October and November 2019.