WHILE we were tucking into our turkey and other festive treats, Royal Navy sailor Jason Hegarty was thousands of miles away from home in Hartlepool.
As Jason’s family sat down to their Christmas dinner, he was working on board his ship in the Gulf.
It will be the fourth year in a row that Jason has been on duty on Christmas Day.
For the previous three years he has been in Gibraltar, off the coast of Spain.
Jason, 37, would normally spend the festive season at home with his dad Nick, stepmother Carol and siblings Terry, Darren, Lee, Mark and Tracy.
But this year, he spent it working on board the Navy’s support vessel Royal Fleet Auxiliary Lyme Bay, which is stationed in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Jason said: “It’s obviously a very family-orientated time of year, so it is different working out here this year.
“I miss seeing everyone, but having spent the last three years in Gibraltar I did enjoy having a slightly different Christmas to everyone else.
“Plus, because you’re away and everyone is in the same boat, we all make a real effort to make sure it’s as festive and happy a time as possible.”
Jason, a theatre technician by trade, is the leading medical assistant in charge of a medical facility which deals with the kind of medical inquires seen at your regular GP practices. RFA Lyme Bay is in Bahrain to help supply Royal Navy ships in the area with petrol and stores for their operations and exercises at sea.
Jason, whose previous drafts have taken him to the island of Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and east coast of America, hopes to return to the UK to see his family in the new year.