Business as usual for fathers at Christmas
By NigelB | Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 09:46
Christmas morning traditionally starts early, especially if you have kids, but for Stuart Croft, Paramedic for The Cornwall Air Ambulance it will start at 6:30 am with the journey into work.
Cornwall Air Ambulance paramedic Stuart Croft taking an emergency call at HQ
Preparing to take off on another potentially life saving mission
"Not many people know we operate on Christmas Day," says Stuart "But unfortunately we are as busy as any other day."
Stuart, a 42 year-old father of three from Hayle, will be part of the three-person crew working on Christmas Day itself.
"Being a dad and being called to incidents involving children can be pretty hard, especially at Christmas time.
"Whilst we don't get too many problems on the roads on Christmas Day, we do get a very high proportion of medical emergencies.
"These are often hugely time critical and can be very serious indeed.
"Obviously we are all trained professionals with a job to do,
but I do sometimes find myself having to take a moment to myself when I get back to HQ.
"I'm not ashamed to admit that I have been known to have a private cry at the offices from time to time."
Stuart believes that being a parent does help him empathise with parents and children alike.
"I involve the parents at all times, to keep them informed as to what is going on and to reassure them." He added.
"I say to myself 'How would you feel if it was your kids?'"
It's not all work on Christmas Day for the crew on duty though.
"We try to get into the Christmas Spirit, we often have a 'secret santa' between us and people very generously send in food hampers.
"But we are there to do a job which starts at 7:30 am with the medical checks and making sure the Air Ambulance is flight ready.
"We hope we don't get a call, but when we do, we're ready and we're glad that we are able to help.
"It's why we do it.
"My heart goes out to the families affected, especially at this time of year.
"Kids can be really badly affected if they see Granny or Grandad taken away in the Air Ambulance."
"I get to have another Christmas day with the my kids, Kieren, Alex and Sam, which is great; they really understand how important my job is.
"My advice to all families this Christmas would be to make the most of each other, take some time to laugh, play and enjoy being together, some people, sadly, won't be as fortunate."
If you can help the Cornwall Air Ambulance carry out the vital lifesaving work that they do visitwww.cornwallairambulancetrust.org