Children taking to the skies on their way to medical treatment will be watched over by a new mascot, in an effort to make the journey a bit more comfortable.
The Air Ambulance service operated by Air Whanganui officially received a new mascot this week - a bear dubbed Amelia Bearheart, a nod to the famous aviator.
The ambulance service is run by the company, supported by a separate trust that sits outside of Air Whanganui, as well as a contract with the Whanganui DHB.
"The ambulance operation is really significant for us - often we end up at different ends of the country each day," pilot Tom Hall said, standing on the tarmac preparing for a flight to Auckland.
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"A lot of our patients are children and heading up in the air while at a pretty scary point in their life," flight nurse Christine Lynch added.
The new bear was donated by Teddies for Loving Care or TLC, a nationwide charity operated by Freemasons New Zealand.
Each child flying aboard the Air Ambulance will be given their own TLC bear that will follow them through their treatment, as well as a memory of the trip.
The service, based out of Whanganui Airport, is one of six in the country and operates around 20 flights a week, employing a total of 14 healthcare staff and seven flight crew.