More than 400 attend Hays Travel’s summer garden party

More than 400 Hays Travel colleagues partied at the agency’s 2024 summer garden party, celebrating successes at the UK’s largest independent travel company.

Described as “legendary”, the event began decades ago at the home of the agency owners, the late John Hays and Dame Irene Hays.

This year’s party took place on Sunday (July 7) at the Fire Station – a theatre and bar that backs on to Hays Travel’s Sunderland head office.

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The agency’s events and creative teams worked with venue staff to transform the site from a car park to a festival setting – with a lawned dance floor to echo the event’s history.

Dame Irene and chief operating officer Jonathon Woodall-Johnston (main picture) presented welcome drinks to every guest as they arrived at the Fire Station – and Woodall-Johnston made a welcome speech, 20 years to the day since he began his career with Hays Travel.

As well as street food and drinks, guests enjoyed sets by local DJ Mojaxx, and live band Cool as Vegas – plus a sing-along to Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ classic hit, reworked as ‘Come on Irene’.

Dame Irene Hays said: “Our success is down to the hard work of all our people. Today is a time to celebrate and show our appreciation, particularly for the members of our Hays Travel family whose efforts are behind the scenes – but every bit as important.

“We are also grateful to our Fire Station neighbours for hosting us for a second year. It’s good to keep some much-loved traditions going, while also creating new ones as we grow and develop.”

Rain failed to dampen spirits at the Hays Travel garden party
Rain failed to dampen spirits at the Hays Travel garden party

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