Published: 13:25, 25 October 2021
| Updated: 10:20, 27 October 2021
A ferry company is giving away £1 million in free passage to NHS pandemic heroes.
The 6,000 tickets will be for NHS staff using the Dover to Calais and Dunkirk routes to thank them for their dedication over the last 20 months.
DFDS will make them available until December 2022.
The company is also providing a total of 1,500 tickets for its routes from Newhaven and Newcastle through a partnership with Blue Light Tickets.
The free tickets for NHS employees, a reward for their tireless work, will be made available via a ballot.
Many of the workers have not taken full annual leave during the coronavirus pandemic while they focused on supporting patients.
The offer is for one of the following:
Jacques Webb, UK and Continent campaign manager for DFDS, said: "Our own crews worked throughout the pandemic as key workers, keeping ships sailing and playing an important role ensuring the smooth supply of essential goods and medicines,
"But we know how much more was asked of NHS staff and would like to be able to thank them in a real and meaningful way, by enabling them to take time away from work to relax and enjoy themselves in completely new surroundings."
"NHS staff really got us through and continue to do so."
Russell Smith, who is a captain on the DFDS Dover to Dunkirk route, said: "The NHS staff worked so hard, particularly in that first lockdown.
"They worked hard anyway before Covid came along. They really pulled together and got us through that and continue to do so. We are lucky to have an NHS, to treat those who really need it quickly."
Lauren Fox, Dover shore-based DFDS customer experience specialist, said: "I worked through the pandemic. I just imagine how much tougher it was for the NHS staff and wanted to say my thanks."
NHS staff can take part in the ballot, giving their identification, and then names for the free voyages will be picked at random.
To enter the #DFDSThanksNHS ballot visit the dedicated DFDS webpage and register your details.