City landmarks in Sunderland were lit in blue and orange on Tuesday in tribute to Hays Travel founder John Hays.

The tribute, featuring the colours of Hays Travel and its associated Hays Travel Foundation, will also take place on Wednesday and will continue until dawn on Thursday.

Hays collapsed and died at the agency group’s headquarters in the city on November 13. His funeral is due to take place on Wednesday.

Credit: North News
Credit: North News


A statement from the Hays family read: “We would like to thank everyone for their kindness to the family and to our employees all over the UK.

“We are overwhelmed by the thousands of wonderful tributes, offers of support and messages full of love that we have had. They have truly helped us all through these last few days.

“We also want to thank the thousands of people who donated a fiver to John’s
pride and joy – the Hays Travel Foundation which helps young people to be the
best they can be.

“And Sunderland City Council who arranged to light up the city’s bridges and

“John loved his family, his friends, his city, his job and of course his
extended Hays Travel family, dearly. He would have been honoured and very

Photo: North News
Photo: North News


City Council leader Councillor Graeme Miller said: “It was a shock to so many people to hear of John’s death. It’s fitting that we look to a visible tribute and with a book of condolences there is the opportunity to mark his passing in words.

“John was always deeply loyal and committed to Sunderland and the north-east region and we thank him for that. I know many other people feel the same, and he was loved and admired by many people in the city and beyond.”

John Hays lights 3 WIDE


The city council awarded Hays the Freedom of the City in 2016 as recognition for his services to the community.

Photos: North News