For they are jolly good fellows – oh yes they are!


John and Irene Hays hit the headlines in October this year when their company, Hays Travel, took over the retail arm of the collapsed UK tour operator and airline Thomas Cook, saving 555 shops and over 2,300 jobs.

They’ve been hailed as superheroes in the travel industry – but The Customs House has always known how special the UK’s largest independent travel agent is.

Hays Travel is a long-standing supporter of the South Shields arts venue and the headline sponsor of this year’s panto, Snow White.

John said: “We’re delighted to once again sponsor the pantomime at The Customs House – this year more than ever as they celebrate their 25th year.

The show has become a north east tradition and we congratulate everyone on 25 years of hugely successful theatre productions, as well as supporting the arts in the local community.

“Every year the cast and crew put on an amazing show and we are so proud to be part of it. Hays Travel staff and their families take over the theatre for one show to enjoy the performance and it is always a huge hit!”

John and Irene have seen the show and met the cast, led by The Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer as Dame Bella Ballcock. Ray also co-writes and directs the theatre’s annual panto productions.

He said: “We were delighted to welcome our main sponsors to The Customs House. Over a decade of support is much appreciated. It’s typical of John and Irene to get involved in supporting the community and taking time to thank the cast.”


Snow White runs until January 5, 2020 and also stars Davey Hopper as Arbuthnot, Annie Guy as Snow White, Dale Jewitt as Prince of the North, Steven Lee Hamilton as The Evil Queen, Bethan Amber as Minerva the Mirror and Charlie Raine and Luke Maddison as skunks Sniffy and Whiffy.

Performance times vary and tickets, priced from £9.99, are available from the box office in person or on (0191) 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk.

Tickets are also on sale now for next year’s panto, Rapunzel, which runs from Wednesday, November 25, 2020, to Sunday, January 3, 2021.

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