LANDMARKS across Sunderland have been lit in tribute to city businessman John Hays and the foundation he created.

Mr Hays was founder of Hays Travel and the Hays Travel Foundation which supports young people to achieve their potential. Their blue and orange colours are a familiar sight in Sunderland city centre where Hays has its HQ and in hundreds of high streets.

At dusk today the Northern Spire bridge, Penshaw Monument, Fulwell Mill, Seaburn Lighthouse, Hylton Castle, Beacon of Light and Keel Square outside the company's HQ, at Gilbridge House, Keel Square, were lit to mark his passing.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Hays died on Friday 13 November and his funeral is due to be held tomorrow Wednesday, November 25, when the landmarks will be lit again from dusk to dawn in tribute.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said: "It was a shock to so many people to hear of John's death. It's fitting that we have a visible tribute and with a book of condolences there is the opportunity to mark his passing in words.

"John was always deeply loyal and committed to Sunderland and the North East region and we thank him for that. I know many other people feel the same, and he was loved and admired by many people in the city and beyond."

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The book of condolence is online at

In 2016, the City Council awarded Mr Hays a Freedom of the City in recognition for his services to the community.