Wales

'I had a call during my Christmas dinner'

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Media caption"I've been called out to work during Christmas dinner"

Christmas Day is typically a day for big meals, gifts and time with family.

But for about 47,000 Welsh workers, 25 December will be the same as any other as they leave their stockings by the fireplace and head to work.

According to the 2016 figures, 3.3% of over-16s in Wales work at Christmas - with the most common professions being clergy, nurses and care workers.

Others go into the day not knowing what to expect as they spend Christmas on call.

Many of those on call, some of whom are volunteers, spend their day responding to emergencies to keep you safe.

This is what they had to say about what it is like to swap turkey for work.

The air ambulance paramedic

Image caption Air Ambulance paramedic Carl could be flying high in work on Christmas Day

Carl Hudson has to head to a 12-hour shift on Christmas Day as he is a critical care paramedic on the Welsh Air Ambulance based in Caernarfon.

But he says, it is all part of the job.

"At Christmas, we'll all be on our same bases as usual, working the same shifts," said Carl.

"We all go into this job knowing Christmas, as nice as it would be to be at home, you have to be on call. But that's what we choose to do and we don't mind.

"We've always got a way of celebrating it. We'll do what we can, usually we bring in some food, often we'll get kind donations and gifts.

"It's a day, just as it would be at home, for eating plenty."

The highways engineer

Image caption Terry has spent loads of Christmas Days fixing pot holes and clearing up car crashes

If you're driving to see the relatives this Christmas and get into difficulty, someone like Terry Evans could be helping you out.

He has spent about half a dozen Christmas Days fixing pot holes, dealing with car crashes and cleaning up adverse weather during his 22 years working for Rhondda Cynon Taff council.

"It's slightly different to actually being in the workplace on Christmas Day, but it does mean that you never switch off, so for a whole week you're constantly on duty. It cramps your style," he said.

"You can't get drunk on Christmas Day - if getting drunk is your thing - and you can't totally relax because you could be in the middle of your Christmas dinner and you have a call that you have to go out and deal with.

"In the past I've actually had to go out and deal with things and yes I have had to interrupt my Christmas dinner, well, I was in the middle of my Christmas pudding, so I waited until I finished that before I actually went out."

The mountain rescuer

Image caption Huw says the mountain rescue

If you're the kind of person who likes to walk off your Christmas dinner, you may run into some members from Wales' mountain rescue teams.

Huw Birrell, from the North East Wales Mountain Rescue Association, says Christmas is a busy time.

"We're all on call and some people don't regard it as Christmas unless they've had a call out," he said.

"There's chaps and girls who've literally finished their Christmas dinner, put their boots on and gone out the door to help somebody.

"Our families are very understanding all year round, and to be fair we have to have a life as well.

"There's a huge pressure on mountain rescue emotionally, and we do have people who suffer with PTSD as a result so sometimes you have to know when not to go as when to go. At Christmas the pressure's on us."

The lifeboat helmsman

Danny-Lee Davies volunteers with the RNLI in Conwy and spends his Christmases on call when he is not away with the merchant navy.

"For us it is situation normal," said the lifeboat helmsman.

"We're all on call 24 hours a day, we all carry our pagers and that's how we get alerted if someone calls 999 through the coastguard.

"They'll request us if we're required and then we'll muster down here no matter what time of the day it is, even on Christmas Day.

"The main thing is we have a strong bunch of friends and families behind us. We can only do what we do as volunteers through the help and support of our families, particularly on Christmas Day."

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