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Clare Linehan, a 19-years old childcare worker from Mallow, has been rewarded for her love of young children thanks to the support she gave to Bumbleance, the world’s first interactive ambulance service for sick children.

Attending the recent National Ploughing Championship, Clare responded to an appeal from Bumbleance’s never thinking it would lead to her becoming the lucky owner of a new Mercedes-Benz B-Class car.

Clare was presented with the keys of her new car by Mercedes-Benz chief executive Stephen Byrne at an informal event held at their headquarters on Naas Road when she travelled to Dublin recently with her mother Patsy, father Patrick and brother Jerry.

Asked to describe her feelings, a delighted Clare said ‘I could hardly talk when its founder Tony Heffernan called to tell me I was the owner of a brand new Mercedes. Seeing what a worthy cause the Bumbleance service is, I could not resist giving them my support.’

The brainchild of Kerry couple Tony and Mary Heffernan, Bumbleance is an ambulance service specially designed to transport long-term sick children to and from care and treatment centres in a comfortable, child-friendly, stress-relieving manner.

Thanking young people for the support they give to Bumbleance, he said ‘it’s great to see someone like Clare driving away in a brand new car. Her support for the work we do has led to something she will fondly remember.’

Built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, their highly visible design was created to alert traffic to the fact that an ambulance is approaching with a very important young person on board.

Illustrated outside and inside in cartoon-like ‘bumble bee’ imagery, ambulances are designed to bring a smile to young people’s faces and keep their minds off its serious purpose.

Inside, each unit is equipped with what Tony Heffernan calls ‘latest gizmos and interactive entertainment features that young passengers can enjoy and while away their trip, internet and social media browsing or by playing music, movies and games of all kind.’

In a comment from Mercedes-Benz, its commercial vehicles sales manager Fergus Conheady said ‘Bumbleance is one of the most worthwhile projects we have ever supported. Plans are to quadruple the ambulance fleet so that the service it provides can be even more widely available.’

Delighted Mallow childcare worker, Clare Linehan (second left) pictured with her mother Patsy and father Patrick after taking delivery of her new Mercedes-Benz B-Class. With her is Mercedes-Benz chief executive Stephen Byrne (left) and their commercial vehicles sales manager Fergus Conheady (centre).