A hard-working team of travel agents from St Helens have landed a top award after helping holidaymakers travel around the world more than 350 times.
The team at Hays Travel in Church Street, Church Square Shopping Centre, led by manager Gemma Bate, are celebrating after being named Shop of the Year at a glittering awards ceremony.
The awards are organised by Hays Travel North West managing director Don Bircham to celebrate the achievements of his more than 200-strong team.
Over the course of 12 months, Gemma and her team of six have looked after travel bookings for 2,933 passengers on an incredible total of nearly 8.8m miles - that's the equivalent of travelling around the globe more than 350 times.
There was double delight on the night for the branch as teenage staff member Ellie Woodman scooped the First Year Apprentice of the Year award and was also named among the firm's top ten highest flying agents.
Gemma, 36, from Billinge, said: "It was an amazing feeling to win the award. We were all so excited when they read our name out.
"I've been working the girls so hard because we wanted to try and win the Shop of the Year award so to actually achieve it, we're all buzzing.
"It's a real team effort, 100 per cent. All the girls have done everything asked of them. It's a great achievement because we've only been open a short time.
!The team was praised on the night for its dedication and hard work. They really have been fantastic.
"I was delighted for Ellie winning the First Year Apprentice of the Year award and being in the top ten. She didn't sit down on the night to be honest!"
Ellie, 19, who lives in St Helens and is a former student at The Sutton Academy, had set her sights on winning the award but admits it still came as a shock.
She said: "I was hoping I'd get it but I didn't want to get my hopes up too much. It was a nice surprise when they said my name.
"I came straight here from college and I'm loving it. It was a job I always wanted to do and I'm so glad I got into it.
"I travel a lot so to do something that involves what I love is brilliant. I've travelled to most of Spain, been to Florida and recently come back from Venice so it's good to build up that knowledge of places.
"It's really nice working here and being part of this team. We all get on so well despite being all different ages. Winning the award is the icing on the cake for me, it just shows that if you work hard you get rewarded."
Don Bircham, Managing Director for Hays Travel North West, which is the main partner of the Sunderland-based Hays Travel, said: "One of the key reasons for our ongoing success is the first class service our staff provide for our customers.
"We offer sound, independent travel advice and most importantly we listen to what our customers want so we are able to book them the perfect holiday. This is at the very heart of what we do as a company.
"The annual awards evening is an opportunity to reward the hard work that makes this happen and ultimately creates the thriving business we currently have.
"I'd like to congratulate Gemma and her team on winning the Shop of the Year award which is testament to the hard work and dedication they've shown over the past 12 months.
"I'd also like to say a big well done to Ellie on her First Year Apprentice of the Year award win. It's always great to see young talent making their mark in the firm and I'm sure this is just the start of a fantastic career with Hays Travel."
To contact Gemma and the team, Facebook is @haystravelsthelens or call 01744 332029.