A fundraising page set up in tribute to Hays Travel founder John Hays has raised thousands of pounds for the independent agency giant’s Hays Travel Foundation.
Nearly 1,500 people had donated to the cause by midday on Monday (16 November), with the foundation set up to help young people achieve their goals and potential by supporting their health, studies and other pursuits.
Milburn, Hays Travel’s head of homeworking and telesales, said: "We have been overwhelmed by the messages and condolences received for John Hays.
"There has been a number of requests to send flowers or send a donation to a charity. If anyone would like to make a donation in his memory, Irene would be grateful for a £5 donation (no more) to be made to the Hays Travel Foundation, which was one of John’s proudest achievements."
Hays’ daughter, Helen Hays, shared the page on Twitter on Sunday, thanking people for their contributions. "We aren’t far of £10,000, which is incredible and just means so much."
John Hays collapsed suddenly and died at Hays’ Sunderland HQ on Friday. In a statement, Hays Travel said he died "while doing the job he loved".
He founded the business in 1980, and grew it steadily to become the UK’s largest independent high street agency, with nearly 200 shops.
Last year, Hays took on Thomas Cook’s entire retail network, more than tripling its footprint – saving thousands of jobs and earning him and wife Irene their "heroes of the high street" moniker.
Tributes poured in on Friday and over the weekend from across the travel industry and beyond; Carnival UK chair David Dingle described Hays as " the most outstanding figure I have known within the British travel industry."
To contribute to the fundraising effort, visit the GoFundMe page here.