Technology enthusiast to launch teddybear into space for Essex Air Ambulance

The Essex Air Ambulance mascot will be sent to the stratosphere using helium balloons

The Essex Air Ambulance mascot will be sent to the stratosphere using helium balloons - Credit: Archant

THE CUTE little teddy-bear in the picture might be used to the dizzying heights that come with flying in a helicopter, but this year a charity fundraiser aims to launch him into space.

Matt Downs, an engineer at Stealth Electronic Security in Chelmsford, will send the ted, who happens to be the mascot for Essex Fire and Rescue, into the stratosphere using helium balloons.

Money gained from sponsoring the stunt will be donated to Essex Air Ambulance and Chelmsford Cats Protection.

Mr Downs said: “Last year I stumbled across a little known hobby called high altitude ballooning, whereby a helium balloon is used to lift a package containing various electronic devices 25-35km up into the stratosphere where it eventually bursts, parachutes back to earth, and is retrieved for various data studies.

After researching the subject for some months I set about constructing my own mission.

As soon the charity idea was born I had the idea to attach mascots form a couple of local charities to the device and send them up with it.”

The project will be funded entirely by Stealth Electronic Security, and all proceeds will go to Essex Air Ambulance and Chelmsford Cats Protection.

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Helena Morgan, Head of Fundraising at Essex Air Ambulance, said: “This is such an innovative fundraising idea! We are all very excited about the launch and hope it will help to raise awareness and generate some of the much needed funds to keep the helicopter flying and saving lives across Essex.”

The Essex Air Ambulance is a vital life-saving Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS). It costs in the region of £250,000 per month to cover all charitable costs and aircraft operations including the provision of Doctors.

The service enables clinicians and life-saving support equipment to be rushed to the scene of an incident and the patient can be flown to an appropriate hospital.

The Essex Air Ambulance receives no National Lottery funding and is reliant upon donations from the public and local businesses to raise the funds needed to keep the Air Ambulance flying.

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