A FAST-growing independent travel agency has opened its doors in Runcorn creating six new jobs.

Hays Travel, located in Shopping City, was officially opened by VIP guests, the Mayor and Mayoress of Halton, councillor John Bradshaw and councillor Marjorie Bradshaw.

About £70,000 has been spent on transforming the unit which includes a Bureau de Change.

It is the 34th branch for Hays Travel North West as the travel firm continues with a major expansion scheme to have 50 stores in total within the next 18 months.

Hays Travel Runcorn manager Leanne Knowles, 40, was brought up and still lives in Runcorn.

The mum-of-six said: “To be able to open this store in my own town and lead a fantastic team to give the community the best possible help and service with booking their holidays, it’s a dream come true for me – a perfect job.

“It was a pleasure to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress to officially cut the ribbon and we have received such a warm welcome from the community and the feedback about the store has been fantastic.

“It’s very modern, bright and people have been saying how nice it is to walk in and be greeted by smiling faces and that is very much our aim – to make people feel as welcome as possible when they come in.

“We have already booked a lot of family holidays for people but also city breaks, cruises and long haul holidays.

“As an independent firm, we will be able to offer the Runcorn community a terrific range of holidays from different providers and tour operators so we can work with customers to find the best holidays which suit their budget.”

The Mayor of Halton, councillor John Bradshaw, said: "I am delighted to officially open the new Hays Travel in Runcorn.

"It’s fantastic to welcome this thriving, well-respected and independent travel firm to the town.

"The Mayoress and I received a warm welcome from the team at the new store which is very modern, smart and a great addition for the Shopping City and the Runcorn community."