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Generous bosses at a leading north east travel agent helped hundreds of people experience the magic of panto with a trip to see The Lambton Worm.

Hays Travel has sponsored the annual pantomime at The Customs House for more than a decade and this Christmas, they wanted to do something slightly different.

Through the Hays Travel Foundation, the company donated more than 400 tickets to north east families and children experiencing challenging circumstances.

They were chosen to attend a performance earlier this month through different charities and schools in the area, and via applicants to the foundation.

The South Shields-based Charlie Cookson Foundation, which supports parents of children with life-limiting conditions, was one of the charities invited to the event.

Joanne Nicholson, fundraising and events manager, said: “We cannot thank the Hays Travel Foundation enough for giving our families the opportunity to attend this year’s pantomime at The Customs House.”

“Christmas is always such a tough time of year for our families, with some spending it in hospital, so to be able to offer this to them was just amazing. Each family who attended had a fantastic time and enjoyed every bit of the day.”

The Hays Travel Foundation was launched in 2015, on the back of the company’s commitment to community activities and charity fundraising since the first shop opened in Seaham, County Durham, in 1980. It is now the UK’s largest independent travel agent.

It aims to grant funds to registered charities for children and young people that support the advancement of education, sport, health, art and culture, alongside the relief of poverty in areas in which Hays Travel operates.

John Hays, managing director of Hays Travel and co-founder of the Hays Travel Foundation, said: For over a decade, Hays Travel have sponsored the Christmas pantomime at The Customs House and it is a great event.

“We wanted to give families who don’t normally have the resources the chance to have this experience. We did this through the Hays Travel Foundation. It was a fantastic afternoon, filled with lots of fun and laughter.”

Fiona Martin, Deputy Director – Learning and Participation at The Customs House, said: “We were really delighted that Hays Travel Foundation generously gave these children and families the opportunity to see our pantomime.”




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