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Willenhall boy crowned winner of nationwide charity competition

Willenhall boy crowned winner of nationwide charity competition

A local Willenhall boy has been crowned the winner of the Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) Helicopter of the Future Challenge.

In 2023, the national children’s charity launched a competition to design a helicopter of the future, and with over 100 entries, six-year-old Alfie Franklin’s design was chosen as the winner.

Alfie, who is currently a member of the charity’s #TheCrew included many features in his innovative design such as – camouflaging in the sky so it doesn’t scare the birds​, changing into fun cartoons when rescuing children to make them feel better​, playing music for a siren​, a high-tech night vision camera​, a big claw to pick the children up​, sucking in air for fuel so it is good for the earth​, making it super-fast and with robot controllers.

The quality of all the entries was outstanding and it made choosing the winner a difficult task. The judging panel – which included some of the charity’s pilots – were so impressed by Alfie’s creative and thoughtful ideas that they chose him as the overall winner.

“Alfie couldn’t wait to enter the competition for the Children’s Air Ambulance as he loves an aircraft and spends time tracking them, or watching them at airports with his Dad, so this was right up his street,” said Amie Franklin, Mum of Alfie.

“He worked really hard on his entry so when we got the call to say he had won, it was a huge moment for him as he had never won anything before. We are so proud of him, and he couldn’t wait to share the news with his friends and family, he even took his certificate into school to tell everyone about TCAA and the wonderful charity’s lifesaving missions,” she expressed.

Alfie’s prize for winning the national competition was an annual family pass to Legoland Discovery Centre in Birmingham, as well as being invited to attend the charity’s airbase with his family to meet the pilots and see the Children’s Air Ambulance helicopter.

“I was really happy to win the competition and I can’t wait to visit Legoland Discovery this year as well as see the Children’s Air Ambulance and meet the pilots,” said Alfie.

The Children’s Air Ambulance is a national service which is changing the face of paediatric and neonatal care through the high-speed transfer of critically ill babies and children – flying them from one hospital to another for specialist care.

Youth Development Manager for TCAA, Anoushka Brown says: “We are so happy to announce Alfie as our competition winner. We loved his creative design and his idea of protecting the environment by using air for fuel.”

“We had lots of amazing helicopters sent in and it was great to see how many of our #TheCrew members got involved. We would like to say thank you to everyone who entered – you certainly made the judges job difficult,” she added.

#TheCrew is an exciting children’s club linked to the Children’s Air Ambulance where children can learn about saving lives, helicopters, medicine, fundraising and how a charity works.  The club offers advice and teaching on community work, volunteering, working as part of a team and supporting good causes which form part of many school curriculums.

To sign up to join the children’s club, #TheCrew, please visit –

To learn more, or to support the charity, please visit: or call 0300 3045 999.