Honour for the late John Hays at North East Entrepreneurial Awards

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A posthumous award to the late John Hays has been made at the North East Entrepreneurial Awards.

Mr Hays, founder of Hays Travel, who died last year, shared the lifetime achievement award with his wife Dame Irene Hays, who has also been a key part of the company’s success.

Dame Irene said: “John was very proud to receive the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2004 and he would have been equally pleased to receive this award too.

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“It is a huge honour for me to share the award and, as always, I pay tribute to the fantastic staff of Hays Travel who have helped us to achieve so much.”

Elsewhere at the awards, Lee Hutchinson of Middlesbrough computer games firm Double Eleven followed his success at the North East Business Awards a night earlier by being named Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Emerging Talent Award was presented to Dan Parker of Aspect Facades, which is based at Shildon, County Durham.

Steven Rawlingson, founder of global manpower specialist Samuel Knight International, was named Scale-up Entrepreneur and Bill Scott of the Wilton Group was named Mentor of the Year.

James Robson, chairman of event organisers the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “Our North East Entrepreneurial Awards are always a fantastic celebration and acknowledge the dynamic and innovative businesses based in the North East, and this year was no exception.

“Our winners have navigated exceptional circumstances and led their businesses to strength, all while supporting one another and those they work with.

“Our Lifetime Achievement award recognises those who have shown huge commitment over a significant period to the region, making a major impact on our local economy. I can’t think of two people more deserving of the accolade.”

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Graeme WhitfieldRegional business editor