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There’s a Bear in the Air!

Children who are flown in the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance can now cuddle teddy bears thanks to a donation from the Wessex Group.

The company, based in Shaftesbury, Dorset, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and each month is giving “50 somethings” to a good cause or charity.

Pic caption: Annette Plaistow-Trapaud, fundraising co-ordinator for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Mike Wood, Director at Wessex, Claire Baker, paramedic, and Jackie Baker, chairman of Wessex Group’s sports and social club with some of the teddy bears.

The teddies are ideal for helping to reassure children who are distressed in flight or at the scene of an emergency, and they get to keep them afterwards.

Wessex Group’s sports and social club has two nominated charities it is supporting this year and the air ambulance is one of them, so it was the perfect choice for a donation.

Mike Wood, Director at Wessex and Jackie Baker; Chairman of the sports and social club, handed over the 50 teddies to air ambulance staff.

Each cute bear has a T-shirt stating: “Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, supported by the Wessex Group.”

Annette Plaistow-Trapaud, Fundraising Co-ordinator for the air ambulance, and paramedic Claire Baker, received the teddies at the base in Henstridge on the Dorset-Somerset border.

Annette said: “This is a wonderful donation and they will be extremely useful to help reassure young people. Being flown by air ambulance can be daunting and frightening for children and cuddling a bear can really help them. Our figures show that about 20 per cent of incidents we attend involve children.”

The air ambulance is a charity that receives no government or lottery money and relies largely on the generosity of the public to operate.

It costs £4,000 a day to run and on average the helicopter completes about 30 missions a week.

Mike, Director at Wessex Group, said: “We are very pleased to be able to support the air ambulance, which does great work on a daily basis. It can be in any part of Dorset or Somerset within 20 minutes and is a truly life-saving service that we should all be grateful for.”

Jackie added: “The air ambulance and Shaftesbury Hospital are our two nominated charities this year and we hope the teddies will bring a few smiles and some reassurance.”

So far this year Wessex has provided 50 sensory toys for a charity for children with severe learning difficulties, planted 50 yards of snowdrops in Shaftesbury, supported 50 animals at a rescue centre, donated 50 promotional packs to a dyslexia support group, given 50 high-powered LED retrofit lamps to Gold Hill museum in Shaftesbury, supported 50 owls at a sanctuary and donated 50 teddies to the air ambulance.

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