'One of Sunderland's finest' - City pays tribute to John Hays one year on from businessman's death

The Sunderland community has united in tribute one year on from the death of ‘local hero’ John Hays.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 2:26 pm

John was 71 when he passed away suddenly on November 13, 2020, doing the job he loved at the Sunderland-based headquarters for Hays Travel in Keel Square.

He founded the company and co-owned it with his wife Irene, building Hays Travel up from one shop in Seaham to the UK’s largest independent travel agent.

His death prompted an outpouring of grief from Wearside’s business sector, families across the city, colleagues and customers alike, who paid tribute to John as “the best of the best.”

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The businessman was also remembered as a champion for Sunderland and the North East region, with Sunderland City Council leader, Cllr Graeme Miller, calling him “a player in the life of our city.”

Twelve months on from the tragedy, Echo readers have shared their heartfelt tributes to John, alongside well-wishes for all of those who knew, loved and worked with him.

Here are some of your messages from the Sunderland Echo Facebook page:

Graham Donkin: “One of Sunderland’s finest. Thoughts are with the loved ones on the extremely difficult day.”

Saturday, November 13 2021 marked 12 months since Mr Hays' passing.

Jody Graham: “A very genuine man. Thoughts with the family.”

Pat Johnston: “Thinking of Irene and all the family, especially the Hays family.”

Judith Ellen: “Our thoughts are with you all, lovely man.”

Steve Burridge: “Local Hero.”

Hays Travel owner John Hays, who died in November 2020.

Margaret Murray: “Our thoughts are with you and your family.”

Barbara Watchman: “Wonderful man, thinking of Irene and all the family.”

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