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Former Thomas Cook manager delighted by new opportunity at Hays Travel in Sudbury

A new business has opened at the former site of a defunct iconic travel brand in Sudbury.

Thomas Cook ceased trading in September when the renowned travel firm went into liquidation, resulting in dozens of stores across the UK being closed, before a major takeover deal was later agreed.

Hays Travel, an independent travel agent chain, has since acquired 555 of the former stores, including the Sudbury branch in North Street, which hosted its official opening last month.

Hays Travel manager, Matt Shave (C) and his staff open their new store in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (24923640)
Hays Travel manager, Matt Shave (C) and his staff open their new store in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (24923640)

Having lost his job while working at the Thomas Cook branch in Bury St Edmunds, Matt Shave expressed his delight after securing a position as the new manager of the Sudbury store.

“It was a massive relief and very exciting,” he said. “It’s very ambitious of Hays, and to take on 555 new sites is quite a challenge, but they have done amazing so far.”

Praising the company’s warm approach, Mr Shave said: “They have made us feel part of the family so quickly.”

Reflecting on the initial shock after learning of Thomas Cook’s fate, the 27-year-old said the news had taken the team at his former branch by surprise.

“It was very sudden,” he said. “It wasn’t something that we were expecting.”

Mr Shave said the community had been supportive of the move, with members of the public welcoming the new team to the town.

“We have had a lot of people say it’s nice to have people back in the store because it was vacant for a few months.

“For us, the community is very important, so we’ll work very closely with other businesses.”

Joining Mr Shave at the branch is Mandy Ridgway, a former air hostess at Thomas Cook.

The store is looking to employ further staff in the coming months.

For more details or to apply, call 01787 698019.

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