Jan’s giant chocolate chopper fundraiser

Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance charity is in for an Easter treat as a Sleaford area confectioner has crafted a nine-foot long helicopter out of chocolate to support the cause.

Chocolatier Jan Hansen of Folkingham, with a 9ft long clhocolate helicopter that he has made to raise money for Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance. EMN-210330-141246001

Jan Hansen, who owns Hansen’s Chocolate House in Folkingham, has spent two days constructing the choco-copter to raise funds for the air ambulance.

He decided to use his chocolate-making skills to support the charity after hearing on the radio how its vital income to keep the life-saving service flying has been affected by the pandemic as normal fundraising activities have been cancelled.

Starting on Sunday, Jan explained that it was partly to celebrate 35 years in the chocolate-making business.

Jan previously hit the national headlines when he created a huge Easter egg and raised £2,000 for St Barnabas Hospice in 2015.

He said: “We often see the air ambulance fly over head following the route of the A15 and we have used it here in the village in the past. It is a brilliant charity to support.

“We are using an iron egg frame that we had before for the body of the helicopter. That is seven feet long, and then we put the tail on the back for the rear propeller, so it will be about nine feet long in total.”

He said the main rotors are so big that he coated the chocolate around plastic strips wrapped in greaseproof paper and cling film so they don’t break.

Jan commented: “There is quite a bit of weight there. Just the chocolate weighs 120-130kg.”

The monster copter has been built in the air conditioned conservatory at the back of the shop to avoid crowds of customers, who will be invited to view it and donate to the cause via their Justgiving page here. But they can view it through the window.

Unable to transport it due to its size, Jan plans to break chunks off the finished article and sell them to customers to raise even more money.

Jan hopes his series of short films of the construction process on the donation page will spur people on to give more, in case they are still nervous about venturing out to the shop due to the pandemic.

LNAA had to close its charity shops and cancel fundraising activities during the pandemic and the charity has lost more than £1m in projected income. As income went down, the crew on board the helicopter and Critical Care Cars have continued to respond to incidents and attended 1,167 life-threatening emergencies throughout 2020.

Kelly Geoghegan, Fundraising Events Coordinator at Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to Jan for using his tremendous talent to create his choco-copter on behalf of our charity. We’re hoping his amazing efforts will help raise much needed funds for LNAA after a challenging year.

“While we work closely with our fantastic NHS, we don’t receive any funding. We rely entirely on donations from generous members of our communities to keep our helicopter flying and Critical Care Cars on the road.

“We know that Jan’s chocolate helicopter will bring a smile to so many people and is a fantastic way to help raise funds that could potentially save lives.”