Tributes paid following death of 100-year-old former travel agent

A former travel agent well-known in the northwest of England has died aged 100.

Brenda Highmoor, formerly Brenda Giddings, founded Ringway Travel in Heald Green, Greater Manchester, in the 1960s.

‘Mrs G’, as she was known to many of her staff, helped to kickstart the careers of agents including Richard Slater, managing director of Macclesfield-based Henbury Travel, and Stephen Eccles, who worked at The Midcounties Co-operative Travel in senior roles until 2021.

Highmoor gave Slater his first full-time job in travel at Ringway Travel in 1988 where he “learnt the ropes” as a junior travel agent and stayed for 10 years.

Slater paid tribute to his first boss, in comments endorsed by Eccles, for giving agents a fantastic start in the travel industry. He said: “God bless Brenda, thank you for the big break.”

Slater, who is also chair of the Abta northwest region and sits on the association’s board of directors, said: “Brenda was a real entrepreneur with a number of businesses under her belt with her husband Gerald, including a bakery and hairdressers.”

During the Second World War, Highmoor was a document and parcel courier for the government and met Winston Churchill on several occasions while collecting documents.

In the 1960s she set up her independent agency Ringway Travel near Manchester – Ringway Airport was the original name of Manchester Airport – so as “not to be left behind” as air travel for holidays started to take off.

Slater added: “Brenda was a well-known figure in the industry in the northwest, and greatly enjoyed cruising for relaxation.”

After retiring, she moved to Spain where she continued to work part-time selling property, and appeared in two feature films shot on location a short drive from her home in Mojacar.

Brenda turned 100 last October, and received a card from the King and Queen. She leaves son Howard, who took over from her in 1990 and is now retired, and his wife Ann, grandsons and great-granddaughter, and an elder sister.

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