Folkingham chocolatier makes 7ft choc helicopter for Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance
Chocolatier Jan Hansen has cooked up an uplifting Easter creation to help keep a lifesaving county charity in the air.
The stunning 120kg chocolate helicopter, named choco-copter, was built around a 7ft Easter egg shell and took Jan two days to complete.
It was created to raise money for the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance which has lost £1m during the pandemic.
Jan is inviting donations for the chocolate copter which will be displayed in a conservatory at Hansen's Chocolate House, in Folkingham, for the next two to three weeks.
For Covid regulations, it can only be viewed from outside, at the back of the shop.
"We started in Maiden Lane in Stamford 35 years ago and wanted to celebrate that in some way," he said.
"Then I heard air ambulance representatives on the radio talking about what a difficult year it had been so I wanted to help.
"About six or seven years ago we did a 7ft chocolate egg to raise money for St Barnabas Hospice and had a special framework made.
"So all I had to do was turn the framework on its side and turn it into a helicopter."
Even to someone of Jan's experience in the industry, making a gigantic chocolate helicopter tested his skills, and patience, to the limit.
"It was the most challenging project I've given myself," he added.
"It took me half-a-day to prepare the frame and then two extremely long days on Monday and Tuesday.
"It's incredible working with chocolate,, but all kinds o things can go wrong, and they did, but thankfully we had a positive ending."
Jan decided to start at the bottom and work up, tackling the more technically challenging underside first.
However, trouble struck when the framework was turned to start on the top section.
"Pieces started falling off from the underside - it was like an avalanche of chocolate," he said.
"That put us half-a-day behind and we finished the first day at quarter-past-one in the morning.
"It became quite traumatic so when it was finally done, there was a real feeling of relief.
"I knew I couldn't let the air ambulance team down and had to get it done ahead of Easter."
Jan is hoping to exceed the £2,500 his 7ft Easter egg raised for the Grantham hospice, with donations invited while its on display.
Pieces of the helicopter will then be available for sale.
"It's absolutely amazing," said Kelly Geoghegan, fundraising events co-ordinator for Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance which last year responded to about 1,200 incidents.
"During the pandemic we are looking at a loss of £1m because we weren't able to do our normal fundraising, so supporters like Jan are vital in helping us to keep saving lives.
"We didn't miss a shift throughout last year which was one of our busiest ever."
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chococopter