Weeks of stress and worry are finally over for former Thomas Cook employees as the new Hays Travel store opened its doors in Carlisle for the first time.

Since the news Thomas Cook would cease trading a month ago, thousands of staff members have been left in turmoil with a number managing to find work in other sectors.

But now four ex-Thomas Cook staff have been given the news they will keep their jobs – and Hays Travel will be recruiting more staff for their team.

Sales consultant Carol Bell thought about retiring after her 26 years’ service with Thomas Cook but when the lifeline from Hays Travel arrived she wanted to keep working with her team.

“It’s nice that we can all continue to work together – we’re like a family,” she said. “I thought about retiring but we get to start a new adventure together.”

A huge sign now hangs in the window inviting customers new and old to call in and meet the team.

Experienced consultant Claire Laidlow, who worked for Thomas Cook for 20 years, said: “We’re all over the moon and can’t thank people enough for the support we have had.

“We just want to welcome everyone back. With Hays Travel we have so much more flexibility with holidays and can deal with so many other tour operators. It’s great to be able to welcome everyone back.”

After completing her apprenticeship just over a year ago Emma McDermott was excited to start her career in the industry. She said: “When it all happened I was really frightened. I had only just started my career and I thought it was all about to end.

“Now I feel great. I love my job and the people who I work with. It’s a great feeling to know I will be able to continue my career and keep working my way up through the company.”

Since the takeover Hays have been trying to retain as many staff as they can and the store will be hosting a recruitment night on Wednesday, where the regional manager will welcome potential recruits.

The evening will start at 4pm and Hays are looking for staff in all the stores across Cumbria including Carlisle, Workington, Whitehaven and Penrith.

Thomas Cook ceased trading on September, 23, leaving about 9,000 UK staff without a job and 150,000 customers from the UK were stranded abroad, triggering the UK’s largest peacetime repatriation.

But Hays Travel went on to acquire the entire retail portfolio, more than 555 Thomas Cook shops, on October, 9.