This is the moment a family were reunited – after almost four years apart.
The Bald family, from Milton Keynes, who haven’t been together in the same room for years, were selected from hundreds of ‘long-distance families’ to receive the surprise reconciliation from National Express.
Thanks to David Bald’s work over the festive period as a police officer, he rarely gets to spend the festive period with his parents – who are in their late 70s – his brother and two nephews.
He has worked during every festive season throughout his 30-year career, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day in 2018.
Last autumn, National Express put the call-out for families who wouldn’t be able to spend Christmas 2018 together due to their location and travel arrangements.
Families from across the country who met these criteria entered the competition to receive free coach travel to bring their disparate clan together over the festive season
David’s wife Sandra entered for the chance to reunite her husband with his family, who live in Edinburgh, at a time of year when this isn’t usually possible.
The family of 10 were reunited in Scotland at the Woodside Hotel in Aberdour, where Sandra and David’s 14-year-old daughter, Alexandra, who has Down’s syndrome, was given a special chance to see her grandparents, uncle and cousins.
Sandra said: “It has been such a long time since we have all been together under one roof.
“With David’s work it is tough to arrange a time to make the journey, so it was really a lovely surprise to find out we had been selected.
“It has been wonderful to catch up again and for Alexandra to have an opportunity to see her cousins.
“Hopefully it won’t be another three-and-a-half years until we see each other the next time.”
National Express arranged all travel for the Bald family and their trip to Aberdour, and funded their festive get-together at the hotel.
A spokesperson for National Express said: “We understand that life often takes us far away from home, and can separate us from our hometowns and family.
“Christmas is a time for friends and family, but for some it’s a real challenge to bring the entire clan together.
“We are delighted we were able to give the Bald family this small gift to make their Christmas a little bit more special.”