Staff at the former Thomas Cook shop in Bury St Edmunds say they've been given a lifeline in time for Christmas as their old shop joins others to re-open as Hays Travel.

Shops across the region have been re-opening after the travel firm agreed to buy all 555 of the Thomas Cook stores after the company's collapse in September.

Staff preparing the new Hays store for business. Credit: ITV News Anglia

More than 2,000 members of staff at Thomas Cook have been offered contracts in the new Hays shops.

The company which is based in Sunderland says around three quarters of the 555 former Thomas Cook stores have now re-opened under their name.

"A rollercoaster of emotions of not having a job one minute and then the possibility of this presenting itself was fantastic. A life line for us, staying with the people we know and the customers is absolutely fantastic."

Matt Shave, Assistant Manager, Hays Travel
Travel Consultant Rebecca Bliss and Assistant Manager Matt Shave. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We were devastated and applying for jobs and then finding out that Hays was taking on the former Thomas Cook employees was a massive bonus for everybody here, knowing we could slot back in doing what we love in the same career."

Rebecca Bliss Travel Consultant, Hays Travel, Bury St Edmunds