Cheshire-based independent travel agency HD Travel has bolstered the ranks of the fledgling Midcounties Co-operative Travel consortium.

The new agency was formed in Northwich by directors Kay Butt and Emma Savage after spending a total of 37 years working together as travel agency managers.

They were previously employed as store managers at a Co-operative Travel and Thomas Cook joint venture store until being made redundant earlier this year.

Butt said: “Being made redundant was a shock to the system, but having worked together for so long it was a natural next step for Emma and I to take the plunge and set up our own agency.

“Joining the consortium means that we have the independence to offer our local customers the products that they want, while benefiting from the strength and support offered by working together with other businesses.

“We’ve had a great reaction from people so far in Northwich and a successful first month. We’re now looking forward to developing the business and growing the team.”

Alistair Rowland (pictured), group general manager for travel at the 20-strong consortium, said: “It’s great to see Kay and Emma use their experience and passion for travel to launch their own agency.

“Setting up on your own is a huge challenge, but by joining the consortium they’ll share in the benefits and opportunities that come from a unified approach.

“Each member has a voice in how the consortium is run, and we’ve been thrilled with the number of businesses that have recognised the advantages so far.”

He added: “We have ambitious growth plans and expect a further five businesses to join the consortium before the end of the year.”

The group was launched in May, claiming to be the only independent co-operative travel consortium in the UK, providing members with marketing support, technical training and assistance, as well as group membership of Abta and Atol to help lower operating costs.