AS WE all tuck in to the turkey and sprouts this Christmas, thousands of workers in the NHS, Armed Forces, public and emergency services will be working on our behalf.

But for firefighter Ben Burt, his duty to serve the public may have to take second place this year.

That’s because the Shoreham crew member’s wife Becky is expecting a new baby son today.

Ben, 27, who joined West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service earlier this year, said if Becky, 26, goes into labour as expected, he will not have to complete his Christmas Day shift.

The couple, who have been married for five years, already have a two-year-old daughter called Liberty.

Ben said: “We are both really excited, a baby son will be a perfect Christmas present for the end of the year. Having children has always been a big plan for us, we are hoping our second child will be just as good.

“We’re a little bit apprehensive about whether Becky will go into labour on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or Boxing Day. We don’t have any control over that.

“But as a firefighter, I’m tied in to work certain days of the year and this year I am on the Christmas Day shift.

“I would get paternity leave and we have retained firefighters who can get called in to cover for me if needed.”

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Ben will be among thousands to be working this Christmas. He joined the fire brigade after previously working as an outdoor instructor.

He said: “This is my first Christmas on duty. It is just like any other usual day for us.

“We turn up and are told who will be doing what roles at 7am, including who will be driving the truck and who is in charge of inspecting the equipment.

“Christmas is a different sort of atmosphere, we will have family members pop in to the station, it is a little bit more relaxed.”

Meanwhile an ambulance service manager who helps dispatch paramedics to emergencies says she is proud to be serving the public.

Hannah Sutch, left, started as a 999 call taker ten years ago and is set to work a 12-hour shift on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day in Crawley.

She will be missing her husband and family while speaking to staff and making sure the service responds to medical emergencies.

Hannah said: “I have two young daughters, Aoife aged six and Amelie aged three. I feel lucky that I will be getting to spend Christmas morning with them and my husband Allen.

“Some colleagues will unfortunately not see their loved ones over Christmas due to the long shifts we work.

“I feel proud to serve the public over the festive period and wish all of our patients and staff a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.”

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Meanwhile Chloe Ryall will also be among staff at the ambulance service Emergency Operations Centre on duty in Crawley.

She said staff will be holding a “Secret Santa”, a charity raffle and a special buffet to keep up their morale.

Chloe said she would usually be spending Christmas with her fiance and their families.

She said: “I think the public is on the whole very appreciative of the fact we are working and many will say Merry Christmas.”