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Christmas surprise for long-serving Air Ambulance paramedic

Press release   •   Dec 16, 2015 11:50 GMT

This Christmas, Center Parcs has given one family the ultimate Christmas surprise…the gift of time.

Witham St Hughes family Roger and Dionne Linnell and their six-year-old son, Cameron, were treated to a surprise short break at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest, complete with Christmas decorations, a weekend of festive activities and a Christmas dinner prepared by Group Executive Chef, James Haywood.

Unit Manager Roger has been a paramedic in the Air Ambulance for 28 years, a job which, by its very nature includes long hours and time away from his family. In his 15 years with the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance, Roger has spent more than one third of his Christmases at work.

Dionne wanted to give Roger the chance to spend some quality time with both her and their son.

“Family time is everything to us,” said Dionne. “Roger puts his all into his job and I see how tired he is when he comes home. It’s a 365-days-a-year role and there isn’t time to have off with the family.”

Dionne added that Cameron can go almost a week without seeing his dad.

“For every person Roger has helped over the years, there’s a wedding invite he’s turned down, a family party he’s missed, a Christmas dinner gone uneaten or a birthday not celebrated. What’s especially hard for Roger is missing moments in Cameron’s life, like parent’s evening, sports days and even reading him a bedtime story.”

Center Parcs understands the importance of spending time together, away from the distractions, stresses and busyness of day-to-day life. When the team heard about Roger’s commitment, they wanted to make this Christmas an extra special one and, with the help of co-conspirator Dionne, set up the perfect Winter Wonderland break.

Roger arrived at Center Parcs under the pretence that he had won a meal for his family. Instead, he was surprised by a weekend break in the heart of the forest, giving him four days of time devoted to his family.

“The weekend gave us a chance to relax without looking at our watches or listening out for alarms for work,” said Roger. “We were able to focus on being a family. Dionne and Cameron are the two most important people in my life and you can’t put a value on spending time with them.”

The full video can be viewed here.

Notes to Editors

  1. Center Parcs has five Villages across the UK; Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire
  2. As the leader in the UK short break holiday market, Center Parcs regularly achieves average annual occupancy in excess of 97%
  3. Center Parcs offers weekend (Friday to Monday) or midweek (Monday to Friday) breaks and welcomes over 1.7 million guests each year, with 96% of guests expressing an intention to return
  4. The Center Parcs concept is to provide a range of high quality accommodation, shops, restaurants and exceptional leisure facilities, carefully nestled amongst around 400 acres of protected forest environment
  5. This concept originated in Holland in 1967, with the first UK Center Parcs opening in 1987. Center Parcs is now a separate entity in the UK
  6. Center Parcs has been awarded the following accolades since 2008: the Green Business Award for Biodiversity Protection, Visit Britain 5 Star Rating, Hospitality Assured, Biodiversity Benchmark - Land Management, Carbon Trust Standard, Good Spa Guide Award, ISO14001, Investors in People
  7. Center Parcs has recently been announced ‘Best Family Holiday Provider’ in the Tommy’s Awards for the eleventh year in a row