Christmas heroes: Behind the scenes of Wimbledon emergency services working on December 25

While most of us will be lucky enough to be tucking into turkey, pulling crackers and swapping presents this Friday, spare a thought who put others before themselves and are working on Christmas day.

We chatted to three frontline workers who will be spending the day away from their loved ones to keep Wimbledon safe on December 25.

Experienced firefighter and dad-of-one Andy Wilson admitted that his personal Christmas plans have been cancelled this year.

His family and friends are ‘gutted’ but understand his career involves shift work that will affect Christmas so they have to adapt.

But there’s one person Mr Wilson will dearly miss – his 20-month-old little girl.

“To miss her opening her presents it’s gutting, it’s heart-wrenching,” he said.

“Last year on Christmas day she was only nine months old and didn’t really have a clue about opening presents but this year she’s really going to know what presents are.

“She’s going to have so much fun and I’m going to miss out on all of that.”

But he revealed will be ‘smashing’ his data limit on his phone to FaceTime her as she finds out what Father Christmas left under the tree for her.

“She’s so funny, she just loves to chat. We’ll just keep in touch that way,” he laughed.

Mr Wilson, who has worked in the fire service for 16 year, has had many of his Christmases affected by day and night shifts.

He’ll be joining seven other firefighters and three officers who will report for duty at Wimbledon Fire Station on Friday.

In spite of ‘mixed emotions’, he explained that he was happy to have the opportunity to spend time with his first child on Saturday.

“I’ll be celebrating Christmas day on Boxing day,” Mr Wilson said. “My Christmas turkey will be served up to me on Boxing Day lunchtime.”

He will have the whole of Boxing Day to be with his family before two consecutive night shifts.

“Nobody really wants to work Christmas but this is what we do,” Mr Wilson explained. “This is what I’ve been born and bred to do.”

“Nobody really wants to work Christmas but this is what we do.”

Christmas day should be quiet at Wimbledon Fire Station, bu. Mr Wilson hopes to make the day a bit more interesting by spending some time at a charity.

“We plan to give up some of our time, put a smile on a kid’s face and hand out some soup at a homeless centre – just make other people happy,” he explained.

Next year Mr Wilson will be off at Christmas and is really looking forward to it.

But, he pointed out,: “Emergencies don’t stop just because it’s Christmas day.

“And that’s what we’re here for, that’s what we signed up the job for, to keep people in Wimbledon safe and the rest of London.”

Merton Superintendent Steven Wallace has unveiled his plans for the Wimbledon Police Station when he gets into work at 7am.

“I’ve got a little BBQ so my plan is to cook some bacon rolls for the staff on Christmas morning,” he revealed.

“I thought that might be a bit of fun.”

Despite adding some festive touches to the day, Superintendent Wallace conceded that the strain of working at Christmas can take its toll on family life.

“It does have an impact on families because their loved ones are away.

“When you join the police service, working nights and unsocial hours is part of the package,” he explained.

“When you join the police service, working nights and unsocial hours is part of the package.”

“We try wherever possible to make sure it’s done fairly.”

The MET Christmas tree project has had an ‘outstanding’ response locally with more than 400 gifts donated by MET police staff and members of the public which are distributed by the police to many under-privileged children.

Superintendent Wallace will be covering ten London boroughs on Christmas day. He will be responsible for overseeing what is happening and checking in with all the local managers to see all bases are covered.

He explained: “As a senior officer, I probably do less than the hard-working front officers, but I think it’s a good reminder for people like me to get out and see what they are doing.”

Superintendent Wallace is postponing his own Christmas plans until Boxing Day when he is going to see his parents in the Midlands.

“I won’t be present for Christmas dinner, although I think I’m going to get a mini Christmas dinner,” he said.

Superintendent Wallace stressed the importance making the police force available to the public over the festive holiday.

He said: “Christmas can be as busy as any other times, unfortunately people’s lives can go wrong at Christmas and criminals can still operate at Christmas as any other time.”

Crucial support will also be available for families on Christmas day who have relatives at the small Wimbledon Amore Care home, Arthur House.

Vicki Tanner, Arthur House carer, will work her first Christmas shift this year from 8am-5pm.

Ms Tanner said her family are very supportive as they understand the obligations a carer has for the people she looks after.

Ms Tanner said: “It’s such a small home and it is like a big family.

“Everyone is happy and jolly all the time, we’ll just put some music on and it’ll be a really nice feel.”

She will be setting up the ‘Christmas feeling’ in the home, getting the residents up and in their nice clothes for the day’s events.

Ms Tanner said: “The residents still need help. This is their home and we’d like to try and make it as Christmassy and fun for them as we would do if it were in their own homes.”

Three carers and one cook will be on duty at Arthur House.

Ms Tanner explained: “We’re going to have lots of music, some dancing, some singing. It’s going to be good.”

“We’re going to have lots of music, some dancing, some singing. It’s going to be good.”

They will sit down together to have their roast dinner with the residents and pull some crackers.

Carer Eyvon Beale, who will be working through the night until Christmas morning, underlined the importance of care homes remaining open over the festive period.

She said: “It means they have got people who care about them on Christmas day.”

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