A COUNTY Durham pilot will spend his Christmas day saving stricken people across 98,000 square miles.

Sea king pilot Lieutenant Johnny Green will be on call on Tuesday (December 25) to respond to any emergencies needing aerial support.

At 8am on Christmas Day, Lt Green from Shildon, along with three crew members based at the Royal Navy’s search and rescue base at Prestwick in Ayrshire, will respond to any emergency call outs from the Lake District to Ben Nevis, Edinburgh to Northern Ireland, and dozens of west of Scotland islands.

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The former student of St John’s Primary and Sunnydale Comprehensive School in Shildon and his crew will be airborne within 15 minutes during the day and 45 at night to respond to emergencies.

The 33-year-old said: “We sincerely hope that we won’t be required.

“And that everyone can have a peaceful, safe and healthy Christmas and New Year.

“But if the worst, whatever that may be, should happen, then we are here to help.”

He joined the Royal Navy in 1998 as a pilot trainee immediately after completing A-Levels at school.

He said: “We never know what we’re going to encounter when we report for duty.

“Even what appears to be the simplest of jobs can turn out to be particularly challenging – and, in this part of the world, that’s usually due to weather conditions and some fairly difficult terrain.”