Sunderland landmarks to be lit up in tribute to John Hays

John Hays with his wife Irene

Landmarks in Sunderland will be lit up in tribute to John Hays, the city council has announced.

The Sunderland businessman founded Hays Travel with his wife Irene.

He died at the company's head office in the city last week, at the age of 71.  An online book of condolence has been opened on the council website.

The Northern Spire bridge, the National Trust's Penshaw Monument, Fulwell Mill, Seaburn Lighthouse, Hylton Castle, Beacon of Light and Keel Square outside the company's headquarters are all being illuminated to mark his passing.Lights go on at dusk on Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 November until dawn the following morning. The funeral for Mr Hays is due to take place on Wednesday.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 look to 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."In 2016, the City Council awarded Mr Hays a Freedom of the City as recognition for his services to the community.