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Spare a thought for those who work at Christmas

Christmas is nearly here and for most of us, after the last-minute present buying and dinner preparations, it is a time of rest and enjoyment with family and friends, writes Ipswich Council Leader, David Ellesmere.

But do spare a thought for those who spend their Christmas Day working.

People don’t stop being ill just because it’s Christmas and our wonderful NHS staff will be looking after them tomorrow just as they do every day.

It wouldn’t be a particularly happy Christmas without water, heat, light or, increasingly, internet access. The workers who keep our utilities going over the festive period are unsung heroes.

While most public transport doesn’t run on Christmas Day, taxis do still run and for some people provide their only transport option.

Although most of the council will be taking a well-earned rest over Christmas, there are still service areas where people will be working tomorrow.

A stroll round one of our fantastic parks, either to build up an appetite or to walk off the meal, is a favourite activity of many Ipswich residents. Our parks staff will make sure the gates are open tomorrow just as the always are.

While, for most of us, the day will pass off without incident, domestic emergencies such as burst pipes or fires are no respecter of the festive season. We have a number of tradespeople on standby to fix major problems that may occur in council-owned properties.

Our Emergency Services Centre operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We always have a minimum of two people on duty to take emergency phone calls and monitor the town’s CCTV cameras.

They also monitor our HEARS community alarm scheme and despatch trained responders to anyone who signals they are in trouble by pressing the button on the pendant round their neck.

For some elderly and vulnerable people without nearby relatives, our staff may be the only people they speak to on Christmas Day.

All of these workers have given up their Christmas Day so we can enjoy ours.

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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