A firefighter who has worked every festive season for 18 years is finally going to enjoy a dream Christmas at home - thanks to Debenhams.
Andy Lewington was secretly entered into the You Shall Have Your Fairytale Christmas competition by his wife Rebecca, who is a 999 emergency services operator.
Store bosses picked him as winner when they heard how the hard-working couple had never managed to spend Christmas Day at their Leighton Buzzard home together with their children.
Unbeknown to Andy, Debenhams arranged to visit his Duncombe Drive home and deck the halls with their finest Christmas decorations and products.
They then filmed him arriving home from work for the big reveal.
“It was a total surprise - and it was fantastic!” said 46-year-old Andy.
“I walked through the door and the place had been transformed. There were Christmas lights and decorations everywhere - it was like Santa’s grotto.”
Debenhams, who supplied around £2,000 worth of products, had even laid the table ready for a festive dinner, right down to the last napkin.
Andy is now looking forward to spending the big day with his two youngest children, who are aged 13 and 14. His other two children are grown up.
“Sadly Rebecca is working, but we’ll save her some dinner for when she finishes,” he said.
Andy worked at Leighton Buzzard fire station for several years but was recently promoted to a watch commander at Kempston HQ. This means it will be the first year for 18 years that he has not been required to work a hands-on shift on Christmas Day.
“It’s just the way it is when you work for the emergency services. We are there for people 24 hours and day, 365 days a year,” he said.
“Rebecca and I are not alone in never being at home together at Christmas. There are thousands of workers in the police, fire and health services that work throughout the festive season.
“We don’t grumble about it as it’s the nature of our job. But, saying that, I can’t wait to spend this Chrismas at home with the children among all these wonderful decorations!”