GRATEFUL frontline workers have thanked hotel bosses for giving them a place to stay while they battled the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Royal Hotel, in Marine Parade East, Clacton, has been providing free rooms to NHS workers since the start of lockdown.

Despite being closed for business, hotel owner Jason Smedley wanted to ensure people fighting on the frontline did not have to risk infecting their households.

The generous offer meant medics and carers, who were working daily with potential Covid-19 patients, did not have to worry about finding or paying for a place to stay.

Ian Studd, who is a paramedic for the East of England Ambulance Service, is one of the thankful frontline workers who stayed at the Royal Hotel.

At the time of moving into the hotel, his son was just five-months-old, so returning home and potentially putting him as risk was not an option.

“I and three other members of staff found ourselves in a difficult situation, whereby we were seeing Covid-19 patients and then having to go home,” he said.

“Thankfully, the Royal Hotel opened its doors and allowed us to stay free of charge. Two of us were there for approximately three months.

“As you can imagine this massively helped keep our anxiety at bay by reducing the risk of infecting our household.”

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Mr Studd and some of his colleagues have since returned to the hotel to present gifts to Mr Smedley and his staff as a way of thanks for what they did for them.

The businessman, who also runs All That Jazz Beauty Bar and the My Big Fat Greek Taverna restaurant, alongside wife, Georgie, said it was a moving moment.

“It was touching, and we even met Ian’s little baby who he had actually shielded from,” he said. “We have had baskets of chocolate and goodies and personalised Royal Hotel cakes.

“We are still keeping a few rooms free for key workers in case of emergency for key workers. All in all, we have actually become friends with our guests and are proud of what they have done for the country.”