A FESTIVE lunch for to thank Welsh ambulance staff working on Christmas Day is being provided by pubs and restaurants working across Wales.

The eateries have agreed to prepare Christmas meals for more than 500 members of the Welsh Ambulance Service staff – about half of which are free of charge – as a goodwill gesture for those working on December 25.

Colleagues across more than 80 ambulance stations and five control rooms working a day shift will get to enjoy a dinner.

That includes staff in the Trust’s Emergency Medical Service, Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service, Make Ready Depots and Clinical Contact Centres, including NHS Direct Wales and 111 staff.

Lunches will either be delivered or collected on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, depending on the area and the pub or restaurant preparing the meal.

Judith Bryce, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Head of Operational Support, said: “As an ambulance service we operate 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, including Christmas Day.

“We recognise that not all our staff will be able to enjoy Christmas dinner at home with their families and loved ones, so this is a small gesture to thank our people on Christmas Day.

“Arrangements have been made once again this year to ensure that colleagues working days on December 25 will be provided with a Christmas dinner supplied by a local hotel or restaurant.

“This year, our Staff Officers and local teams have worked hard to secure more than 520 dinners – many more than last year.

“I hope that this gesture demonstrates on behalf of the organisation and our patients how grateful we are to staff for the excellent service they provide.

“We’re hugely grateful to all of the pubs, hotels and restaurants who have kindly helped us out.”

Among those who have agreed to provide meals for free are the Willow Tree in Nantyglo, The Three Saints Hotel in Llantrisant, The Haywain in Bridgend, the Best Western Diplomat in Llanelli, the White Lion Inn in Colwyn Bay and the Ship Hotel in Dolgellau.

For those establishments where dinners are to be paid for, the cost will be met by the Trust.