Teddy bear parachute announced at this year’s Old Buckenham Airshow - and your school could take part

Smiler, donated by Maggie Perkins, could be one of 12 bears to jump out of an airplane during the Ol

Smiler, donated by Maggie Perkins, could be one of 12 bears to jump out of an airplane during the Old Buckenham Airshow this year. Organisers are looking for schools to dress up and design a parachute for each of the bears so they can be dropped over the airfield in August. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

They are beloved companions that rarely stray far from their youthful owners' sides.

Smiler, donated by Maggie Perkins, could be one of 12 bears to jump out of an airplane during the Ol

Smiler, donated by Maggie Perkins, could be one of 12 bears to jump out of an airplane during the Old Buckenham Airshow this year. Organisers are looking for schools to dress up and design a parachute for each of the bears so they can be dropped over the airfield in August. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

But this summer, Norfolk teddy bears will become daredevils for the day as they parachute out of an aircraft hurtling at 200mph above thousands of sky-watchers.

The quirky flight, dubbed the Ted Devils, is the latest act announced at this year's Old Buckenham Airshow and will be led by aerobatics pilot Nigel Wilson in his Russian Yak 52 aircraft.

Over the two-day show, which will be held on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31, 12 teddy bears will showcase their target-hitting credentials - and the airshow is asking Norfolk schools to put forward their so-called bear heroes.

Matt Wilkins, airshow organiser, said: 'The bears cannot do it alone - they need a team behind them to make their parachute and give them the best chance of a graceful flight straight to the target. We're therefore delighted to be inviting local schools to take part and provide us with a bear hero, complete with parachute.

Smiler, donated by Maggie Perkins, could be one of 12 bears to jump out of an airplane during the Ol

Smiler, donated by Maggie Perkins, could be one of 12 bears to jump out of an airplane during the Old Buckenham Airshow this year. Organisers are looking for schools to dress up and design a parachute for each of the bears so they can be dropped over the airfield in August. Smiler is with Matt Wilkins, airshow organiser. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

'This truly challenging and exciting new sport will enable the local communities' schools to carry out the ultimate experiment. Why test a parachute from the school roof, when you can do so from 500ft at 200mph?'

Once chosen, schools can raid their art supplies to design parachutes for the show - with which the Mercury is a media partner - and can raise charity cash via sponsorship.

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Mr Wilkins added: 'Once launched, they'll be aiming for a target on the ground and we'll be recording which bear demonstrated the greatest expertise and came closest to the target. The airfield will have a crack team of bear specialists on hand to rapidly whisk the bears off for honey, marmalade and medals.'

During what is hoped will be the biggest aircraft line-up to date at the show, Mr Wilson, thought to be one of the only pilots who does the teddy bear parachutes in the world, will also take to the skies in a Beechcraft Staggerwing.

Smiler, donated by Maggie Perkins, could be one of 12 bears to jump out of an airplane during the Ol

Smiler, donated by Maggie Perkins, could be one of 12 bears to jump out of an airplane during the Old Buckenham Airshow this year. Organisers are looking for schools to dress up and design a parachute for each of the bears so they can be dropped over the airfield in August. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Do you have an unusual story for us? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk