A DIRECTOR of the Hay Festival has been suspended over claims he has bullied staff.

Peter Florence, who co-founded the festival in 1988, was suspended on October 1 when a formal complaint of bullying was upheld.

Chair of Hay Festival Caroline Michel said: "Peter Florence was suspended on 1 October pending the outcome of a grievance procedure initiated by one of our staff.

"He has since been signed off sick, which has delayed the conclusion of that process.

"Tania Hudson has been appointed interim CEO to lead the Festival team during this period alongside international director Cristina Fuentes La Roche.

"The Hay Festival Board would like to reassure all supporters and sponsors that the festival is in good hands.

"We are not at liberty to offer any further comment on personnel issues until this matter is resolved."

Mr Florence, 56, lives in Herefordshire and is a Fellow of Hereford College of Arts. As well as the world-renowned Hay Festival, he has also founded similar events in Bangladesh, Kenya and Northern Ireland.