Hays Travel threw an office-warming party for 500 staff to celebrate moving into new premises in Sunderland.

Head office staff have been slowly moving to the new three-storey office space at Gilbridge House in Keel Square, Sunderland, from four separate sites across the city centre over the last few months.

Gilbridge House is based with an area earmarked to become the city’s music, arts and culture quarter.

Music, champagne and canapes were on offer at the party held on Friday (September 27).

Managing director John Hays said: “Right from the outset having everybody in one place has made us interact better with one another.

“It has made operations so much better, being some much closer to each other and working together. So I am absolutely delighted. We wanted to celebrate the move, we are really proud of the building and everyone seems to love it.

“It’s a lovely party atmosphere here today to celebrate our new home. It makes me very happy.”

Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, had doubts over whether staff would want to celebrate following the collapse of Thomas Cook.

She said: “After the first 48 hours of the Thomas Cook failure I was questioning whether people who’d been working 16 hour days would be up for a party on Friday night, but this is Hays Travel and everybody was asking us not to cancel!

“So I think there’s a real buzz out there despite how tired everyone is. John and I are just so, so proud of them all.”

Pictured (from left): Hays Travel Independence Group graduate, Kathryn Armstrong; creative graduate, Georgina Earley; and Olivia Colquhoun, social media graduate