Sunderland based holiday company Hays Travel has acquired a family run group with travel shops in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.

The Holiday With Us Group is a collection of independent travel agencies in March, Spalding and Wisbech, which was established by Christina Fitzpatrick and her family in 2009. The business started with just one shop but now operates the three stores with six people, all of whom now join Hays Travel.

Dame Irene Hays said the acquisition will create new jobs too, with Hays Travel looking to recruit staff – experienced travel agents and people considering a career change – in all three branches. The transaction has been made to coincide with the peak holiday trading period, and was completed after Hays Travel marked its most successful day of trading on Saturday, January 6.

The company said that the newly acquired branches are now trading as Hays Travel, and that Holiday With Us Group owner Mrs Fitzpatrick is remaining with the business to help it grow.

She said: “I have loved running my own travel business, but now is the right time for me to step back a little to focus on my young family. The new arrangement means I can stay in travel and will continue to work alongside my excellent team, who I know will thrive within the Hays Travel family.”

Dame Irene Hays said: “We welcome Christina and her team to Hays Travel. In Holiday With Us Group Christina has established a high quality business and we are delighted that she is staying on with us to ease the transition for customers and staff. Located in the Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire area, the branches are in an excellent area for Hays Travel and we are confident that this latest acquisition fits well with our strategic ambitions, and offers good potential for growth.”

The deal marks the third acquisition by Hays Travel in five months, following on from its undisclosed deal for South Wales company Travel House and its 16 shops, completed in November, and the acquisition two months prior to that for Just Go. The addition of Wrexham-based Just Go, which operates branches across the North West and North Wales, added 45 shops to its network.

The company was established by John Hays in 1980 and in 2019 he and his wife Dame Irene acquired the entire portfolio of former Thomas Cook shops, providing re-employment opportunities to the 2,500 staff who were made redundant. Today it has more than 470 shops across the UK and employs 4,500 people.