Ben Keenan: Raise a glass to all those who’ll be working on Christmas Day

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On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a Beano-themed chocolate advent calendar.

Putting on my glasses, I located door number one and was presented with a chocolate in the shape of a bell and a picture of Dennis the Menace being reprimanded by a police officer.

Not very festive I admit but strangely, it got me thinking about aspects of the festive season that I seldom give any thought to. While most of us are sitting down to turkey, trimmings and the Queen’s speech, there will be thousands of people behind the scenes making sure that if anything untoward should occur, a county-wide safety net is firmly in place. On Christmas day there will be police officers patrolling the area with full support staff manning the switchboards in case an emergency unfolds. There will be doctors and nurses at West Suffolk Hospital making their rounds and caring for those unable to have Christmas at home. There will be firefighters standing by in case we need the professionals to put out a blaze and there’ll be vehicle mechanics on call should the car break down on the way to Grandma’s house.

If my wife suddenly goes into labour, there will be trained midwifes ready with warm towels and gas and air if I need it! There’ll be people pulling crackers and eating lunch with those they’ve given their time to care for until their shift ends and they can join their own families. Hundreds of professional chefs will be preparing the best meal of the year which will be carried by waiters and waitresses consigned to work on one of the busiest days of the culinary year (if you’ve decided to hang up the turkey baster and let someone else do the cooking this year!).

And, taking a moment to think further afield, Suffolk’s own servicemen and women who are working to make the world a safer, happier and more tolerant place to live so that we can enjoy the freedoms they are risking their lives fighting for. So please take a moment to consider that if something goes wrong on the 25th, there are amazing people standing by to help and for that, and so much more, we should all raise a glass in thanks to all those scheduled to work on Christmas day.