FAMILIES, schools and groups in Droitwich are being encouraged to hold a teddy bears picnic this summer to help launch England’s first ever air ambulance for children.

The Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) hopes to put the first paediatric service in the air to help transfer seriously sick children, from newborn to 16-year-olds, to specialist children’s hospitals across the country.

Young people across the region are usually covered by Birmingham, which is one of the main centres for intensive care for children.

However, many children across the country need to travel to other hospitals further away and are currently transferred by road ambulance, which provides an excellent and vital service but can take unnecessary hours of travel.

The Teddy Bears Picnics Project has been launched to help raise both awareness and funds for the service in a bid to ensure it launches this year.

People who want to get involved can download the pack from the CAA website to register their event.

Nicola Howkins, TCAA chief executive, said: “This is a great opportunity to really engage with children and communities in a fun way and for a great cause.

“We want to launch our first helicopter later this year with the longer aim of having three aircraft in the air providing 24-hour emergency transfers 365 days a year.”

For more information or to arrange a picnic visit tcaa.org.uk or call 01803 313778.