The people working hard over Christmas

Richard Gillies.
Richard Gillies.
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Christmas Day is a time for festivities, celebrations, copious food and drink and much merriment and mirth.

However, for thousands of people across the country, Christmas Day is a day like every other. Police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, carers, security guards, chefs, and publicans will all be preparing for a day at work.

Workers at the Olde Coach House.

Workers at the Olde Coach House.

And that is not to include the people who remain on call and have to be ready at a moment’s notice should the situation be needed.

The Daventry Express has been out to speak to some of the people who have previously worked on Christmas Day and will be doing the same tomorrow (Thursday).

Carer

Tracey Claxon has said she doesn’t see herself as any differently from other care professional.

The members of the Watch at Daventry Fire Station.

The members of the Watch at Daventry Fire Station.

She is a worker for Bluebird Care in Daventry and Northampton and will be at work from 7am to 2pm on Christmas Day.

She said: “I don’t see myself as any different to any dedicated care worker working in the community to help others.

“It takes commitment and hard work and to put others first knowing you’ve made a difference to someone’s day makes the job worthwhile.

“I speak on behalf of all the dedicated customers of Bluebird Care in Daventry and Northampton that are also giving care throughout their Christmas.”

Healthcare assistant Kay Bull and ward sister Tracy Devenney.

Healthcare assistant Kay Bull and ward sister Tracy Devenney.

She says she will be going off to celebrate Christmas Day after her shift, when she will head off to see her parents.

Tracey added: “I have children but they are all grown up. It is not like having little ones. My mum is great in the kitchen and there will be a lovely dinner cooked.

“There are a lot of our customers who do not have friends and family who can visit them easily.

“You may end up being the only person that they will see on Christmas Day and it is great to see them and give our customers some festive cheer.”

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No Caption ABCDE NNL-141219-153036001

Police officer

If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of crime on Christmas Day, then one of the first people you may see is Sergeant Richard Gillies.

He is the local response sergeant working on Christmas Day for Daventry and the surrounding villages, as well as Towcester and the surrounding area.

Sgt Gillies said: “I will have to pick up some of the stuff that is leftover from the previous day. That could be people arrested who need to be interviewed who were drunk from the night before.

“It also means we have to be out on call so should – as did happen one Christmas I was working – a family has all of their Christmas presents stolen, then we will be the first out on the scene investigating the crime.”

Sgt Gillies said he does also try to be lenient with the team that he is working with on Christmas Day.

He added: “We won’t know what is going on until we get in that day, but if it is quiet, I have been able to say to the team ‘go home but keep your radios with you’.

“While they are on call, it does mean that they get to see their families on Christmas Day and that is important for a lot of them.”

For himself personally, Sgt Gillies will be seeing his girlfriend, who also works in the police so is understanding of the problems.

He added: “I will try to pop in and see my mum and dad for a bit of the day. They are in a village which is not too far away. After I have finished with my shift, I will be off to see my girlfriend and her parents, who live down in Oxfordshire, and from there we will be celebrating Christmas.

“It can be difficult. My ex-girlfriend had a young child and she wanted us to be all together on Christmas Day and that can make working that day very difficult.

“However, I have always wanted to be a police officer and knew this would be a sacrifice I had to make to do this job.”

Nurse

A ward sister at Danetre Hospital has said that working on Christmas Day will see people in higher spirits than normal.

Tracy Devenney, who works on the Maple ward, will be looking after patients during Christmas Day morning.

She said: “I manage a small team of staff and we look after the patients from their admission to when they are eventually discharged.

“I think we find that a lot of the patients are in very good spirits and we all have to cheer each other up when we are working on Christmas Day, but everyone is normally in a festive mood. People are a little more relaxed but you just get on with it.

“I prefer to work on the morning shift; that way I can have the afternoon with my family. There will be somebody coming in to work in the afternoon and we will have a brief chat and pass anything over to them.”

Tracy has three children aged between 11 and 19 and says that working on Christmas Day is hard for the three of them.

She added: “It is actually the oldest one who is the most gutted about me having to work on Christmas Day.

“It is difficult because Christmas Day is all about family and we are obviously not together for the whole day, but we will get the afternoon together.”

Pub Assistant manager

There are many people who decide to not bother with cooking a Christmas dinner and it can be one of the busiest days for the pub and restaurant trade.

Ian Lockie works at the Olde Coach House in Ashby St Ledgers and he is expecting to be very busy with a wide number of bookings for Christmas Day confirmed.

He said: “We will be starting work at 10am and we finish at 6pm.

“It is a hard job working because we are very busy, but actually a lot of the people coming in are all in good spirits and you feel some of that despite the fact that you are working.”

There is a real sense of camaraderie among the staff working on Christmas Day.

Ian added: “We have live-in quarters so there are a lot of us who will be staying here for Christmas.

“Once the pub is closed at 6pm, we lock the pub and the staff who live at the pub will come together and have a Christmas dinner, which is nice. After that, the people who have families will go off to see them.”

Firefighters

For the firefighters at Daventry Fire Station, they will be treating Christmas Day like any other day.

For the fire officials who will be working over the Christmas period, it is all about them as a team rather than individuals.

Watch manager Norm Jones said: “We will be working from 7.30am to 6pm and will start off by checking the kit and making sure everything is working.

“However, it is basically just a normal day for us.

“We would normally be going off to do community work but there is not a lot of call for us to do that on Christmas Day.

“We have also got to see if there are any ongoing incidents and all of the time we are on call and ready to go to an emergency at a moment’s notice.

“If we do have to go out, people have called us out for a good reason and they are grateful to see us.”

Firefighters have said that people should make sure to take care of themselves by turning Christmas lights off when they leave the room.

Station manager Warren Ellison added: “We will be having a little look at what the other stations have got and we might be well staffed while another centre isn’t.

“Therefore, a firefighter will go over to that station and help out.”

Talking about how they will celebrate Christmas day, one of the firefighters, Barry Marks, said: “It will very much depend on the personal situation.

“For those with young children, it can be difficult working Christmas Day.”

Another firefighter Tom Connolly, speaking of a previous Christmas when he was working said: “I woke my children up at 5am so they could open the Christmas presents before I went off to work. I know it is normally the other way round, but it is nice to see them before going to work.”