A former Thomas Cook employee spoke about the relief as his job was saved by Hays Travel just a few days after having been sacked by the defunct tour operator. 

As the discontinued travel agency went bust, many of Thomas Cook’s former staff were approached by Hays Travel to work under the independent travel agency instead. 

One employee is Richard Waterhouse, 47, of Holme Lane, who’s spent over 20 years in the travel industry and is managing the team that is opening up the Hillsborough outlet.

Speaking about the transition from Thomas Cook to Hays Travel, Richard said: “There had been rumours but we never really thought it was going to happen to be honest. 

“Then I got a message from my manager at six o’clock in the morning basically saying ‘don’t go into the stores, there will be a conference call at ten o’clock’ and then we were told that we were officially made redundant from that moment. 

“Then it was just the case of signing on and sorting out bills and waiting to see what happened. 

“There are plenty of jobs out there but it’s difficult, especially when you have been doing the same thing for 23 years and that’s really what you know, so it’s quite daunting to deal with that.”

However, after a few days time, Richard was approached by Hays Travel, who asked if he wanted his old job back working for them instead.  

He said: “I then phoned up my team that I had had before and said to them, ‘I want you to come back and work with me’.

“Not only did it make me happy but it made several other people happy as well.”

Hays Travel opened in Hillsborough on October 11th.