Another 800 military personnel are sent to help test 4,000 drivers stuck in Kent on Christmas Day

Thousands of lorry drivers were spending Christmas Day in their cabs in Kent today as the military was sent in as part of Operation Rose to help clear the backlog of stranded drivers and return hauliers to their home countries.

Hundreds of soldiers have been deployed as part of the repatriation operation after French Covid-19 restrictions temporarily banning UK freight caused severe disruption at the Port of Dover in the run up to Christmas Day.

The French are demanding a negative Covid test from lorry drivers before they are allowed to cross the border – after introducing a travel ban on Sunday following the discovery of a fast-spreading mutant strain in the UK.

Around 1,100 British military personnel have been sent to Kent as part of Operation Rose to help perform Covid tests, marshal traffic, distribute food and organise welfare facilities to 5,000 waiting lorry drivers.    

Traffic was moving smoothly through the port on Friday morning, with 30 French firefighters also sent in to help the military test drivers for coronavirus. The Polish defence minister said their country would also send 60 territorial army soldiers.

James Heappey MP, Minister for the Armed Forces, called it a ‘fantastic international effort’ in a tweet on Christmas Eve. 

More than 700 hauliers have been cleared for departure since France reopened its border on Wednesday – and a chorus of beeping horns sounded at Dover on Christmas Eve as those at the front of the queue celebrated finally being able to leave.

However, some 5,000 remain unable to get home yet, despite some progress made in testing drivers holed up in their vehicles at nearby Manston Airport, a disused airbase that has been turned into a temporary truck park, on a closed section of the M20, and in the town of Dover itself. 

Many stranded drivers are now spending Christmas stuck in their truck cabs. Pictured: The M20 this morning on Christmas Day

Many stranded drivers are now spending Christmas stuck in their truck cabs. Pictured: The M20 this morning on Christmas Day

Many stranded drivers are now spending Christmas stuck in their truck cabs. Pictured: The M20 this morning on Christmas Day

Pictured: Food parcels delivered by members of the public to lorry drivers who remain trapped on the M20 in Kent today

Pictured: Food parcels delivered by members of the public to lorry drivers who remain trapped on the M20 in Kent today

Pictured: Food parcels delivered by members of the public to lorry drivers who remain trapped on the M20 in Kent today

A mother and child wearing Christmas hats look at the line of trucks parked up on the M20, part of Operation Stack in Ashford, Kent

A mother and child wearing Christmas hats look at the line of trucks parked up on the M20, part of Operation Stack in Ashford, Kent

A mother and child wearing Christmas hats look at the line of trucks parked up on the M20, part of Operation Stack in Ashford, Kent

There are still thousands of lorries parked on the old runway at the disused Manston airport (pictured on Christmas Day) as the truckers wait for Covid tests. Some 5,000 remain unable to get home , despite some progress made in testing drivers holed up in their vehicles (pictured, the airfield slowly emptying)

There are still thousands of lorries parked on the old runway at the disused Manston airport (pictured on Christmas Day) as the truckers wait for Covid tests. Some 5,000 remain unable to get home , despite some progress made in testing drivers holed up in their vehicles (pictured, the airfield slowly emptying)

There are still thousands of lorries parked on the old runway at the disused Manston airport (pictured on Christmas Day) as the truckers wait for Covid tests. Some 5,000 remain unable to get home , despite some progress made in testing drivers holed up in their vehicles (pictured, the airfield slowly emptying)

Soldiers carry out a coronavirus test on a driver at the entrance to Port of Dover in Kent amid the pandemic on Christmas Day

Soldiers carry out a coronavirus test on a driver at the entrance to Port of Dover in Kent amid the pandemic on Christmas Day

Soldiers carry out a coronavirus test on a driver at the entrance to Port of Dover in Kent amid the pandemic on Christmas Day

Soldiers stand at the entrance of the Port of Dover today, amid the coronavirus outbreak in Britain on Christmas Day

Soldiers stand at the entrance of the Port of Dover today, amid the coronavirus outbreak in Britain on Christmas Day

Soldiers stand at the entrance of the Port of Dover today, amid the coronavirus outbreak in Britain on Christmas Day

Thousands wait to resume their journey across The Channel on Christmas Day after the borders with France reopened

Thousands wait to resume their journey across The Channel on Christmas Day after the borders with France reopened

Thousands wait to resume their journey across The Channel on Christmas Day after the borders with France reopened

Thousands wait to resume their journey across The Channel as Covid tests are administered by an international taskforce

Thousands wait to resume their journey across The Channel as Covid tests are administered by an international taskforce

Thousands wait to resume their journey across The Channel as Covid tests are administered by an international taskforce 

Some drivers have already spent nearly a week stranded at Manston (pictured on Christmas Day) due to the diplomatic impasse after the French closed their borders

Some drivers have already spent nearly a week stranded at Manston (pictured on Christmas Day) due to the diplomatic impasse after the French closed their borders

Some drivers have already spent nearly a week stranded at Manston (pictured on Christmas Day) due to the diplomatic impasse after the French closed their borders 

Some have already spent nearly a week stranded due to the diplomatic impasse.

Southeastern Railway and Network Rail arranged for food to be delivered to lorry drivers stuck in Operation Brock on the M20. Seven trains carrying crates of food for the hauliers have left London in the past 48 hours, with the Salvation Army distributing the items. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘We need to get the situation in Kent, caused by the French Government’s sudden imposition of Covid restrictions, resolved as soon as possible.

‘I have today sent special instructions to the Army to take control of testing and HGV management operations in the county. Our aim is to get foreign hauliers home with their families as quickly as we can.

‘I know it’s been hard for many drivers cooped up in their cabs at this precious time of year, but I assure them that we are doing our utmost to get them home.’

The Department for Transport (DfT) said all but three of the 2,367 coronavirus tests issued to hauliers have been negative – a stipulation of travel introduced by French authorities.    

The Department for Transport (DfT) said all but three of the 2,367 coronavirus tests issued to hauliers have been negative - a stipulation of travel introduced by French authorities. Pictured: Dover today

The Department for Transport (DfT) said all but three of the 2,367 coronavirus tests issued to hauliers have been negative - a stipulation of travel introduced by French authorities. Pictured: Dover today

The Department for Transport (DfT) said all but three of the 2,367 coronavirus tests issued to hauliers have been negative – a stipulation of travel introduced by French authorities. Pictured: Dover today

The Government said catering vans would provide complementary hot food and drinks to stranded hauliers at Manston, with Kent Council and volunteer groups providing refreshments to those stuck on the M20

The Government said catering vans would provide complementary hot food and drinks to stranded hauliers at Manston, with Kent Council and volunteer groups providing refreshments to those stuck on the M20

The Government said catering vans would provide complementary hot food and drinks to stranded hauliers at Manston, with Kent Council and volunteer groups providing refreshments to those stuck on the M20

Thousand remain trapped on the M20 in Kent trying to gain access to Dover Port, approximately 13 miles of traffic is halted

Thousand remain trapped on the M20 in Kent trying to gain access to Dover Port, approximately 13 miles of traffic is halted

Thousand remain trapped on the M20 in Kent trying to gain access to Dover Port, approximately 13 miles of traffic is halted

A Port of Dover spokesman said ferry services had run throughout Christmas Eve night and would continue on Christmas Day to help ease congestion

A Port of Dover spokesman said ferry services had run throughout Christmas Eve night and would continue on Christmas Day to help ease congestion

A Port of Dover spokesman said ferry services had run throughout Christmas Eve night and would continue on Christmas Day to help ease congestion

Traffic was yesterday moving more quickly at the Eurotunnel, with around 2,000 lorries expected to depart on Thursday

Traffic was yesterday moving more quickly at the Eurotunnel, with around 2,000 lorries expected to depart on Thursday

Traffic was yesterday moving more quickly at the Eurotunnel, with around 2,000 lorries expected to depart on Thursday

Pictured: A lorry driver stopped on the approach to the Port of Dover stands with a packet of ready salted Walker's crisps

Pictured: A lorry driver stopped on the approach to the Port of Dover stands with a packet of ready salted Walker's crisps

Pictured: A lorry driver stopped on the approach to the Port of Dover stands with a packet of ready salted Walker’s crisps

Trucks line up at check-in to the ferry at The Port of Dover, Kent on Christmas Day, as thousands wait to resume their journeys

Trucks line up at check-in to the ferry at The Port of Dover, Kent on Christmas Day, as thousands wait to resume their journeys

Trucks line up at check-in to the ferry at The Port of Dover, Kent on Christmas Day, as thousands wait to resume their journeys

Food is delivered to thousands of lorry drivers stuck in the approach to the Port of Dover in Kent on Christmas Day

Food is delivered to thousands of lorry drivers stuck in the approach to the Port of Dover in Kent on Christmas Day

Food is delivered to thousands of lorry drivers stuck in the approach to the Port of Dover in Kent on Christmas Day

A lorry driver self-administers a coronavirus test on Christmas Day as traffic begins to move slowly following tailbacks

A lorry driver self-administers a coronavirus test on Christmas Day as traffic begins to move slowly following tailbacks

A lorry driver self-administers a coronavirus test on Christmas Day as traffic begins to move slowly following tailbacks

The Government said catering vans would provide complementary hot food and drinks to stranded hauliers at Manston, with Kent Council and volunteer groups providing refreshments to those stuck on the M20.

There are more than 250 toilets at Manston, with a further 32 portable toilets added to existing facilities already along the M20.

A Port of Dover spokesman said ferry services had run throughout Christmas Eve night and would continue on Christmas Day to help ease congestion.

Traffic was moving more quickly at the Eurotunnel, with around 2,000 lorries expected to depart on Thursday.

Duncan Buchanan, a policy director at the Road Haulage Association, said: ‘The most reassuring thing is that food is getting through at Manston, and I have to say a big thank you to everyone who volunteered to help drivers stick it out in cold conditions in the days leading up to Christmas.’   

Members of the public deliver food to stuck lorry drivers on the M60 in Kent using rope from motorway bridges

Members of the public deliver food to stuck lorry drivers on the M60 in Kent using rope from motorway bridges

Members of the public deliver food to stuck lorry drivers on the M60 in Kent using rope from motorway bridges

Pictured: Food is delivered from motorway bridges to thousands of lorry drivers stuck trying to access the Port of Dover

Pictured: Food is delivered from motorway bridges to thousands of lorry drivers stuck trying to access the Port of Dover

Pictured: Food is delivered from motorway bridges to thousands of lorry drivers stuck trying to access the Port of Dover

Drivers were seen on the motorway this morning coming out of their cabs to enjoy Christmas Day with other stranded drivers

Drivers were seen on the motorway this morning coming out of their cabs to enjoy Christmas Day with other stranded drivers

Drivers were seen on the motorway this morning coming out of their cabs to enjoy Christmas Day with other stranded drivers

Around 800 British military personnel have been sent to Kent help perform Covid tests, distribute food and organise welfare facilities for the stranded truckers. Pictured: Dover on Christmas Eve

Around 800 British military personnel have been sent to Kent help perform Covid tests, distribute food and organise welfare facilities for the stranded truckers. Pictured: Dover on Christmas Eve

Around 800 British military personnel have been sent to Kent help perform Covid tests, distribute food and organise welfare facilities for the stranded truckers. Pictured: Dover on Christmas Eve

The additional manpower means there are now 1,100 soliders part of the effort to clear the 4,000 lorries waiting to drive to the Continent. Pictured: Dover on Christmas Eve

The additional manpower means there are now 1,100 soliders part of the effort to clear the 4,000 lorries waiting to drive to the Continent. Pictured: Dover on Christmas Eve

The additional manpower means there are now 1,100 soliders part of the effort to clear the 4,000 lorries waiting to drive to the Continent. Pictured: Dover on Christmas Eve

The French are demanding a negative Covid test from lorry drivers before they are allowed to cross the border after introducing a travel ban. Pictured: Dover on Christmas Eve

The French are demanding a negative Covid test from lorry drivers before they are allowed to cross the border after introducing a travel ban. Pictured: Dover on Christmas Eve

The French are demanding a negative Covid test from lorry drivers before they are allowed to cross the border after introducing a travel ban. Pictured: Dover on Christmas Eve

Thousands wait to resume their journey across The Channel after the borders with France reopened this week, but many did not make it across the Channel in time for Christmas

Thousands wait to resume their journey across The Channel after the borders with France reopened this week, but many did not make it across the Channel in time for Christmas

James Heappey MP, Minister for the Armed Forces, tweeted that 30 French firefighters and 60 Polish soldiers would join the military taskforce

James Heappey MP, Minister for the Armed Forces, tweeted that 30 French firefighters and 60 Polish soldiers would join the military taskforce

Thousands wait to resume their journey across The Channel after the borders with France reopened this week, but many did not make it across the Channel in time for Christmas. On December 24, Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey MP, tweeted that 30 French firefighters and 60 Polish soldiers would join the military taskforce

British testers yesterday found just three Covid cases among more then 2,300 drivers swabbed on Christmas Eve. 

It has been a fraught week in the southern county – home to Britain’s key Dover port – after an estimated 10,000 truckers were caught up in the chaos. 

It comes after French president Emmanuel Macron ordered the border with the UK to shut on Saturday following the detection of a new virulent strain of coronavirus in Britain.

Thousands of hauliers were parked up at the disused Marston airport, while hundreds more lined the M20 as part of Operation Stack. All were waiting for a negative test result before they can make their way to the continent. 

Kent villagers yesterday helped feed stranded truck drivers lined up along the motorway by lowering bags of food to them from bridges. 

People from Mersham, near Ashford, used rope and shopping bags to deliver goods including beans, fruit and sweets to stranded lorry drivers waiting for Covid tests.   

Kind-hearted volunteers from the Kent village of Faversham also delivered essential items to the truckers still stranded at Marston airport.

Kent villagers are helping feed stranded truck drivers lined up along the motorway by lowering bags of food to them from bridges

Kent villagers are helping feed stranded truck drivers lined up along the motorway by lowering bags of food to them from bridges

They are using rope and shopping bags to deliver goods including beans, fruit and sweets to stranded lorry drivers waiting for Covid tests

They are using rope and shopping bags to deliver goods including beans, fruit and sweets to stranded lorry drivers waiting for Covid tests

Kent villagers are helping feed stranded truck drivers lined up along the motorway by lowering bags of food to them from bridges. They are using rope and shopping bags to deliver goods including beans, fruit and sweets to stranded lorry drivers waiting for Covid tests

Villagers lower food from M20 bridges near Ashford to truckers stuck in Operation Stack as Domino's deliver pizza

Villagers lower food from M20 bridges near Ashford to truckers stuck in Operation Stack as Domino's deliver pizza

Villagers lower food from M20 bridges near Ashford to truckers stuck in Operation Stack as Domino’s deliver pizza

Hundreds of hauliers are lined on the M20 as part of Operation Stack waiting for a negative test result before they can make their way to the continent

Hundreds of hauliers are lined on the M20 as part of Operation Stack waiting for a negative test result before they can make their way to the continent

Hundreds of hauliers are lined on the M20 as part of Operation Stack waiting for a negative test result before they can make their way to the continent

People from Faversham are among the Kent locals who have rallied to help the stranded truck drivers who are waiting to be allowed to cross into France in order to travel home

People from Faversham are among the Kent locals who have rallied to help the stranded truck drivers who are waiting to be allowed to cross into France in order to travel home

People from Faversham are among the Kent locals who have rallied to help the stranded truck drivers who are waiting to be allowed to cross into France in order to travel home

The volunteers delivered essential items like toilet roll and water bottles. Villagers from Mersham also delivered food to drivers on the motorway by lowering parcels from the motorway bridge

The volunteers delivered essential items like toilet roll and water bottles. Villagers from Mersham also delivered food to drivers on the motorway by lowering parcels from the motorway bridge

The volunteers delivered essential items like toilet roll and water bottles. Villagers from Mersham also delivered food to drivers on the motorway by lowering parcels from the motorway bridge

Hundreds of hauliers are lined on the M20 as part of Operation Stack waiting for a negative  Covid test result before they can make their way to the continent

Water bottles, toilet roll and snacks were among the essntial supplies passed to the waiting drivers through the airports perimeter fence. 

Mersham residents Jan and David James also walked down the carriageway between ranks of parked up trucks to hand out food on Christmas Eve. The pair climbed over a barrier walked down a set of steps on the embankment to reach the road.

Jackie and Peter Bates have also stepped in to spread Christmas cheer among the drivers.

Mrs James, 69, a former teacher told Kent Online: ‘We went round knocking on doors in Mersham asking if people had any spare food and they have been brilliant. They gave us lots of food in bags and we then took it to the bridges.

‘We have had tins of beans, orange juice, fruit, biscuits, crisps and corn beef – anything the lorry drivers could eat with their fingers but I think most of them have cutlery anyway.

‘A lot of the drivers were asking us how far away Tesco was and many of them were walking to the supermarket.

‘We ran out of food in the end but we could have gone on and on – it was just something we felt we had to do for the poor blokes.

Drivers walk on the motorway on Christmas Day as their trucks are parked up on the M20, with more arriving to join the queue

Drivers walk on the motorway on Christmas Day as their trucks are parked up on the M20, with more arriving to join the queue

Drivers walk on the motorway on Christmas Day as their trucks are parked up on the M20, with more arriving to join the queue

Drivers still stranded in Dover spelt out 'help' using traffic cones after days of waiting in Kent

Drivers still stranded in Dover spelt out 'help' using traffic cones after days of waiting in Kent

Drivers still stranded in Dover spelt out ‘help’ using traffic cones after days of waiting in Kent

Hot curries prepared for the truckers

Hot curries prepared for the truckers

Meals were cooked by volunteers

Meals were cooked by volunteers

A Sikh charity in kent prepared hot meals including curries (pictured) and pasta dishes to hand out to the desperate truckers on Tuesday and Wednesday 

French firefighters (pictured) armed with 10,000 testing kits have joined the effort to get thousands of stranded lorry drivers across the Channel today, with up to 6,000 lorries now stacked up in Kent

French firefighters (pictured) armed with 10,000 testing kits have joined the effort to get thousands of stranded lorry drivers across the Channel today, with up to 6,000 lorries now stacked up in Kent

French firefighters (pictured) armed with 10,000 testing kits have joined the effort to get thousands of stranded lorry drivers across the Channel today, with up to 6,000 lorries now stacked up in Kent

These volunteers from Faversham are one of many Kent locals who rallied to give the locals a festive gift ahead of Christmas Day

These volunteers from Faversham are one of many Kent locals who rallied to give the locals a festive gift ahead of Christmas Day

These volunteers from Faversham are one of many Kent locals who rallied to give the locals a festive gift ahead of Christmas Day

Drivers came to accept the donations at the perimiter fence at the disused Marston airport, which has been turned into a temporary truck stop since the French border closed

Drivers came to accept the donations at the perimiter fence at the disused Marston airport, which has been turned into a temporary truck stop since the French border closed

Drivers came to accept the donations at the perimiter fence at the disused Marston airport, which has been turned into a temporary truck stop since the French border closed

British testers attempting to clear a 6,000-strong backlog of lorries queuing up to cross into France have found just three Covid cases among the 2,364 drivers swabbed so far

One THOUSAND Dominos pizzas are delivered to stranded truckers who face Christmas alone in Kent

A group of Sikh volunteers have tried to the raise the spirits of lorry drivers stranded in Kent with a delivery of 1,000 Domino’s pizzas amid the ongoing border chaos.

Thousands of foreign drivers are likely to spend Christmas stuck in the UK as the Government has indicated queues will not move for at least another 24 hours.

Volunteers from Khalsa Aid coordinated the deliveries yesterday having already provided hundreds of chickpea curries to the stranded motorists a day earlier.

Sikh volunteers from Khalsa Aid and Domino's Pizza workers stand outside the branch in Sittingbourne, Kent, in preparation to deliver the fresh pizzas to stranded lorry drivers

Sikh volunteers from Khalsa Aid and Domino's Pizza workers stand outside the branch in Sittingbourne, Kent, in preparation to deliver the fresh pizzas to stranded lorry drivers

Sikh volunteers from Khalsa Aid and Domino’s Pizza workers stand outside the branch in Sittingbourne, Kent, in preparation to deliver the fresh pizzas to stranded lorry drivers

The volunteers from Maidenhead travelled over 80 miles to help out, while some of the group’s Langar Aid members journeyed more than 150 miles from Coventry.

Volunteers from the Guru Nanak Darbar temple in Gravesend cooked the meals, while staff from the Salvation Army’s South East Division were also helping to deliver food. Ramsgate Football Club was involved too, delivering 200 pizzas to the drivers.

Ravinder Singh, founder of Khalsa Aid which is based in Maidenhead, said: ‘We in Sikhism, we have the concept of langar, which means community kitchen.

‘We are British Sikhs and the least we can do is to practise our seasonal goodwill: two days from Christmas we have people on our soil who are homeward bound and do not know what is happening.’

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‘When we went back up the steps onto the bridge, a whole group of them clapped us – it was quite emotional.’

Mrs James has lived in Mersham for 35 years and says residents regularly see drivers using the village as a rat-run to avoid queues on the A20.

The grandmother of five said: ‘There was a language barrier – all most of them could say was ‘very, very thank you’ but some of the French and Spanish I could pick up.

‘Many of them just smiled and put their hands together to say thank you – it was wonderful.’

Mrs James praised the community saying it was a ‘typical English village with a fantastic community spirit’. 

The villagers’ actions have been part of a wider effort to feed the desperate drivers this week. 

On the M20, Kent County Council (KCC), with the help of Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) partners and organisations including the Salvation Army, aid agency Khalsa Aid and South East Water, provided drivers with hot food, sandwich meal bags and drinking water. 

A number of food donations from South East catering companies are also being transported by Network Rail to Ashford train station and distributed by KRF partner the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Several supermarkets and businesses, including Greggs, Lidl and the Imperial Hotel at Hythe have also made donations.

As part of KCC efforts to make sure people in the traffic management system Operation Brock are being cared for, a further 32 portable toilets have also been installed between junctions 10a and 11, adding to the portaloos provided on Monday at 1km intervals along this stretch of motorway. Toilets are being cleaned at 12-hour intervals.

While traffic queues will ease as drivers meet France’s COVID-19 testing requirements and are cleared for onward travel via either the Port of Dover or Channel tunnel, it remains important people avoid travelling to Kent while the disruption continues.

KCC Leader Roger Gough said: ‘The kindness and humanity shown by people who have rallied to provide welfare for those caught up in delays at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel is amazing.

‘I would like to thank all those who are coming forward to help, including charities, businesses, voluntary groups and, of course, our own driver welfare teams.

‘The situation should now improve steadily as drivers secure negative COVID-19 test results and are able to continue their journeys into France by ferry or freight train. I have, however, deep sympathy for those for whom this will come too late to spend Christmas with their families.

‘I would also like to thank Kent communities for their support and understanding during what has been an extremely challenging time and hope the knowledge that the disruption will continue to ease is some welcome good news.’ 

It came after authorities faced criticism for the treatment of the stranded drivers and the conditons at Marston airfield.

Industry bosses branded the treatment of the stranded truckers ‘a disgrace’ earlier this week.

Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association said: ‘They’re going to give drivers two litres of water every day. 

‘We need to ensure that drivers have got sufficient food and water. 

‘Kent County Council were giving cereal bars yesterday morning which was not enough.

He added: ‘Bearing in mind the government has been trying to prepare for transition which is in eight days time, you would’ve expected these plans to be well rehearsed.

‘It’s an absolute disgrace that they’re not well prepared at all. It’s a scenario that could’ve happened in the case of no-deal.’

Andik Jozsef, 47, from Csokonyavisonta in Hungary is parked more than a mile from the front of the queue at Dover

Andik Jozsef, 47, from Csokonyavisonta in Hungary is parked more than a mile from the front of the queue at Dover

Driver Andik Jozsef as told wife Bernadett, 46, son Daniel (pictured together), 22, and daughter Kristof, 15 that he won't be coming home for Christmas

Driver Andik Jozsef as told wife Bernadett, 46, son Daniel (pictured together), 22, and daughter Kristof, 15 that he won't be coming home for Christmas

Andik Jozsef (left), 47, from Csokonyavisonta in Hungary is parked more than a mile from the front of the queue at Dover. He has told wife Bernadett, 46, son Daniel (right, together), 22, and daughter Kristof, 15 that he won’t be home for Christmas

Ivo Ivic, 57, who is transporting chemicals used in building foam from Runcorn in Cheshire to Slovenia

Ivo Ivic, 57, who is transporting chemicals used in building foam from Runcorn in Cheshire to Slovenia

Ivo Ivic had planned a Christmas meal with wife Ankica, 56, son Jure, 37, and daughter Sama (pictured together), 38 at home in Vrhnika, Slovenia

Ivo Ivic had planned a Christmas meal with wife Ankica, 56, son Jure, 37, and daughter Sama (pictured together), 38 at home in Vrhnika, Slovenia

Ivo Ivic (left), 57, who is transporting chemicals used in building foam from Runcorn in Cheshire to Slovenia, had been looking forward to spending tomorrow with his grandsons Timotes, aged eight and two-year-old Lucian. He had planned a Christmas meal with wife Ankica (right), 56, son Jure, 37, and daughter Sama, 38 at home in Vrhnika, Slovenia

Lorry driver Doma Dumitru, 41, had been hoping to spend tomorrow

Lorry driver Doma Dumitru, 41, had been hoping to spend tomorrow

Doma Dumitru had been hoping to spend tomorrow with his wife Alina, 40, and their 12-year-old daughter Daria Maria (pictured, together) back home in Romania

Doma Dumitru had been hoping to spend tomorrow with his wife Alina, 40, and their 12-year-old daughter Daria Maria (pictured, together) back home in Romania

Lorry driver Doma Dumitru (left), 41, had been hoping to spend tomorrow with his wife Alina, 40, and their 12-year-old daughter Daria Maria (right, together) back home at Oradea in north-west Romania. He has been stuck in Dover since Monday after France closed its border with Britain following the emergence of the new highly infectious strain of coronavirus

Lorry drivers stranded in Kent tell of heartache over missing Christmas 

Lorry drivers stranded in Kent for the past three days have told MailOnline of their heartache today at missing out on Christmas Day with their families amid the ongoing border chaos.

Thousands of drivers from countries including Hungary, Slovenia and Romania are likely to spend Christmas stuck in the UK after the Government indicated queues outside Dover will not move for at least another 24 hours.

Lorry driver Doma Dumitru, 41, had been hoping to spend tomorrow with his wife Alina, 40, and their 12-year-old daughter Daria Maria back home at Oradea in north-west Romania. He has been stuck in Dover since Monday after France closed its border with Britain following the emergence of the new highly infectious strain of coronavirus.

Mr Dumitru said: ‘Normally at Christmas time I’d be with my whole family, my wife, daughter, my mother, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews but this year I’m going to be trapped here in England.

‘It’s not good, not good at all but this is the perils of the job. I don’t want to be here sleeping in my lorry for a fourth night but there isn’t anything I can do. I miss my wife and daughter, I’ve spoken to them on the phone but it isn’t the same.

‘There’s no way that I will reach Romania on Christmas Day, I’ve already warned them about that. They know that this can happen with the type of work I do but it’s still very hard to be away from them at this time of year. 

Andik Jozsef, 47, from Rinvauilak in Hungary is parked more than a mile from the front of the queue at Dover. He has told wife Bernadett, 46, son Daniel, 22 and daughter Kristof, 15 that he won’t be coming home for Christmas.

Mr Jozsef, who is transporting steel from a factory in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire to Hungary, said: There is no chance that I will get to see my family, there are 6,000 vehicles still to be tested and it’s Christmas Eve.

‘The testing is going very slowly, I thought it would be quicker, so I’m going to be in my lorry for Christmas Day, there’s no doubt about that.

‘I want to spend the festivities with my wife, son and daughter at home in comfort not here on a cold road filled with other lorries honking their horns all the time.

‘I think France is to blame – they are being awkward on purpose because of the Brexit negotiations with the UK but it’s us who are having to pay the price.’

Ivo Ivic, 57, who is transporting chemicals used in building foam from Runcorn in Cheshire to Slovenia, had been looking forward to spending tomorrow with his grandsons Timotes, aged eight and two-year-old Lucian.

He had planned a Christmas meal with wife Ankica, 56, son Jure, 37, and daughter Sama, 38 at home in Vrhnika, Slovenia.

But, shaking his head, Mr Ivic said: ‘There’s no way that I’m going to be able to see them until Christmas is over. Instead I’m going to still be here in my lorry only a little nearer to the port, the way things are going.

‘I was hoping to see my grandsons open their presents but it’s just not going to happen. Christmas is a time to be with your family but I’m going to be on my own this year. Hopefully I can get across to France as soon as possible and just get home before New Year.’

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Trucker named John Christmas admits he’s likely to spend festive season in a lay-by 

Unlucky trucker John Christmas has admitted he will likely spend the festive season in his lorry parked in a lay-by.

The aptly-named Romanian driver will not make it home on Christmas Day as he cannot make it to Dover due to traffic problems.

He is currently parked at the side of Manston roundabout 18-miles from the port.

Unlucky trucker John Christmas has admitted he will likely spend the festive season in his lorry parked in a lay-by

Unlucky trucker John Christmas has admitted he will likely spend the festive season in his lorry parked in a lay-by

Unlucky trucker John Christmas has admitted he will likely spend the festive season in his lorry parked in a lay-by

Mr Christmas transports water from Dover to Birmingham but has been unable to get near the Port due to the traffic gridlock as thousands of other drivers try to reach France to continue home.

He told Kent Live: ‘I will spend Christmas in my trailer, whether it’s at the side of this road or in a car park in Birmingham, that’s unavoidable now.

‘I don’t need a COVID test. I have been waiting for hours but they won’t let me go.

‘All I need to do is go to Dover to drop my truck and pick up another one, but I cannot go there.

‘After that I will need to back to Birmingham and then back home to Romania.’

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Lorry drivers stranded in Kent tell of heartache over missing Christmas 

Lorry drivers stranded in Kent for the past three days have told MailOnline of their heartache today at missing out on Christmas Day with their families amid the ongoing border chaos.

Thousands of drivers from countries including Hungary, Slovenia and Romania are likely to spend Christmas stuck in the UK after the Government indicated queues outside Dover will not move for at least another 24 hours.

Lorry driver Doma Dumitru, 41, had been hoping to spend tomorrow with his wife Alina, 40, and their 12-year-old daughter Daria Maria back home at Oradea in north-west Romania. He has been stuck in Dover since Monday after France closed its border with Britain following the emergence of the new highly infectious strain of coronavirus.

Mr Dumitru said: ‘Normally at Christmas time I’d be with my whole family, my wife, daughter, my mother, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews but this year I’m going to be trapped here in England.

‘It’s not good, not good at all but this is the perils of the job. I don’t want to be here sleeping in my lorry for a fourth night but there isn’t anything I can do. I miss my wife and daughter, I’ve spoken to them on the phone but it isn’t the same.

‘There’s no way that I will reach Romania on Christmas Day, I’ve already warned them about that. They know that this can happen with the type of work I do but it’s still very hard to be away from them at this time of year. 

Andik Jozsef, 47, from Rinvauilak in Hungary is parked more than a mile from the front of the queue at Dover. He has told wife Bernadett, 46, son Daniel, 22 and daughter Kristof, 15 that he won’t be coming home for Christmas.

Mr Jozsef, who is transporting steel from a factory in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire to Hungary, said: There is no chance that I will get to see my family, there are 6,000 vehicles still to be tested and it’s Christmas Eve.

‘The testing is going very slowly, I thought it would be quicker, so I’m going to be in my lorry for Christmas Day, there’s no doubt about that.

‘I want to spend the festivities with my wife, son and daughter at home in comfort not here on a cold road filled with other lorries honking their horns all the time.

‘I think France is to blame – they are being awkward on purpose because of the Brexit negotiations with the UK but it’s us who are having to pay the price.’

Ivo Ivic, 57, who is transporting chemicals used in building foam from Runcorn in Cheshire to Slovenia, had been looking forward to spending tomorrow with his grandsons Timotes, aged eight and two-year-old Lucian.

He had planned a Christmas meal with wife Ankica, 56, son Jure, 37, and daughter Sama, 38 at home in Vrhnika, Slovenia.

But, shaking his head, Mr Ivic said: ‘There’s no way that I’m going to be able to see them until Christmas is over. Instead I’m going to still be here in my lorry only a little nearer to the port, the way things are going.

‘I was hoping to see my grandsons open their presents but it’s just not going to happen. Christmas is a time to be with your family but I’m going to be on my own this year. Hopefully I can get across to France as soon as possible and just get home before New Year.’

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