Prime Minister thanked public servants working during the festive season with a surprise Christmas call | Daily News Byte


  • From the UK to Mogadishu, Islamabad to the South Sandwich Islands, public servants will be working around the world this Christmas to protect the most vulnerable.
  • PM surprises dedicated diplomats, military personnel and childcare providers with unexpected calls to personally wish them a Merry Christmas and thank them for their work
  • Pays tribute to the work of UK embassies and armed forces around the world who have protected national interests under the most difficult of circumstances.

The Prime Minister surprised public servants working around the world this Christmas, calling them to personally thank them for their sacrifices and dedication in an unprecedented year of global challenge.

Along with FCDO Permanent Under-Secretary, Sir Philip Barton and First Sea Lord Admiral Ben Key, the Prime Minister made surprise calls to diplomats from Pakistan, Somalia and Ukraine, as well as a Royal Navy ship in Antarctica. He told them about the work of the diplomatic and armed forces this year, against a backdrop of such global instability, doing the best of the United Kingdom abroad.

And closer to home, the Prime Minister surprised Chris Mitchell who runs Smart Play, an award-winning government-funded holiday activities and food program in Barnet. PM heard first-hand how Chris and the team are helping vulnerable children across the area with fun activities and nutritious meals during the school holidays.

Speaking to Nick Guffog, a diplomat based in Mogadishu, the Prime Minister heard how dedicated Foreign Office staff were using their breath breaks and flights back to Somalia from the UK to bring Christmas decorations to the UK diplomatic premises in Mogadishu. She told the Prime Minister how staff in Mogadishu are living in containers under threat of terrorist attacks, and will pass Christmas aid efforts to counter the threat posed by al-Shabaab and help the Somali government deal with the country’s hunger crisis.

Nick, who oversees the embassy compound in East Africa, said the order for the Christmas dinner was due in the spring and had recently arrived by container ship. This year’s celebrations were special for the embassy after last year’s Covid outbreak meant staff could not sit together in the compound on Christmas Day. Nic hopes to add festive cheer this year with handmade Santa stockings and Christmas jumpers, despite the 40C heat, she added.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

Whether you are working in Mogadishu or Milton Keynes this Christmas, I want you to know that I am personally grateful for your sacrifice. This year has been an extraordinary year for many reasons, but above all, it has been one in which the true spirit and resilience of the United Kingdom has been displayed, from the support given to our Ukrainian friends to the work. This is done to ensure that essential aid reaches the most vulnerable people abroad.

And closer to home, to those who checked in with friends and neighbors, volunteers, public servants and essential service workers all working at Christmas – I am truly humbled by your dedication and I know your selflessness will spread cheer across the country this holiday season.

The Prime Minister also spoke to Pakistan’s Sherwan Asif, who has worked for the British High Commission in Islamabad for more than 12 years, and was at the forefront of the United Kingdom’s response to the devastating floods that devastated the country in June. Sherwan identified areas of critical need and ensured that UK funding reached the most vulnerable.

The Prime Minister also called on Svita Yavorska, who has spent a year working for the UK Embassy in Ukraine from Kyiv, Warsaw and now Lviv. Before setting up the embassy’s temporary base in Poland, Svita told the prime minister how she had to flee to Poland following Russia’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine. Shwita volunteered to translate for refugees entering Poland at the border, helping them secure new homes. Shvita has since returned to Lviv, Ukraine to help set up a new UK base in the city. It is working closely with humanitarian partners to get vital UK aid into the country. The Prime Minister told Svita how grateful he was for her hard work, and said the UK would stand by Ukraine as long as it took.

Finally, the Prime Minister spoke to some of the crew of HMS Protector, currently stationed off the coast of the South Sandwich Islands, updating navigational charts using the latest sonar technology, monitoring the retreat of glaciers and ice shelves, and supporting the British. Antarctic survey scientists by delivering vital supplies and fixing any engineering problems.

The Prime Minister heard how shipmates experienced 20 hours of sunlight a day, and during their deployment saw whales, penguins and endangered turtles, as well as surveyed an underwater volcano and lost 7-1 to members of the Montserrat national football team. Friendly game on the shore.

Asked about their Christmas plans, the sailors told the Prime Minister that they had planned several celebrations in between watching the ship, including a fancy dress party and Christmas dinner for the ship’s company.


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