Tributes have been paid to former Thomson Holidays agency training manager Sian Idris-Evans who died on Tuesday after contracting Covid-19.

Idris-Evans, 56, started out as an overseas rep in the 1980s but was best known for her time running Thomson’s training for Lunn Poly shops and the Thomson Holidays educational programme for agents.

She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late 1990s and was forced to retire early from her role in 2003.

Former colleague Derek Jones, now chief executive of Kuoni parent Der Touristik, said: “Sian ran the agency training team when Thomson was the biggest supporter of the trade. She was pretty famous in her day.

“She never complained about her lot and despite becoming more disabled over the years, and wheelchair-bound for the past 10, she maintained her independence and kept in touch with everyone through Facebook. It’s so sad after all she went through that we lost her to coronavirus.”

Jones added in a tweet on Wednesday: “Such sad news yesterday that Covid19 has stolen a superstar from us far too soon. Sian’s been a fighter all her life, but this fight was the one that finally beat her. Rest in peace our amazing friend… your ex-colleagues at #ThomsonHolidays will be raising a toast to you!”

Former Lunn Poly managing director John McEwan said: “I was so sad to learn of the loss of Sian. I knew Sian when she was a training manager at Thomson. She was a strong and inspirational lady and highly respected. She was also a warm engaging person and was liked by all.

“Unfortunately, Sian had to retire from ill health with a serious illness. She battled adversity with real courage and was determined to make the most of her life, which she did. She has left us far too soon but will not be forgotten. God bless you Sian and rest in peace.”

Jeanne Lally, joint managing director of The Travel Bureau, said: “Sian was an exceptional lady to work with.  She was an absolute and total professional delivering a huge range of educational trips for many of her colleagues and travel agents.  She was feisty, funny, upbeat and a truly inspiring lady to all who knew her.  It was a privilege to know her.”