Colleagues and friends share their memories of a true travel industry giant
It’s been almost a month since the industry was rocked by the news that John Hays – founder of the Hays Travel empire – had died. But the truth of it feels as raw as ever for many, with tributes continuing to pour in for the man affectionately known as “The Gaffer” by colleagues, and admired across the industry.
The respect comes not just for John’s countless achievements in business, but for a man who cared fiercely about his staff, was philanthropic to the last, and would always lend an ear when he encountered someone who needed it.
Crowds lined the streets of Sunderland on the day of John’s funeral last month to pay tribute, with city landmarks illuminated in the blue and orange Hays colours in his honour.
Here, four Hays Travel Independence Group members – industry leaders in their own right – recount their fondest memories of John.