Bumbleance - the world’s first children’s ambulance service designed and fitted-out exclusively to take sick children from their homes to treatment centres in a stress-free, child-friendly way - has gone into service in Ireland.

The brainchild of Kerry couple Tony and Mary Heffernan and their Saoirse Foundation, this hugely praiseworthy project grew out of a determination by Tony and Mary to do something that would alleviate some of the stress that children suffer on long ambulance trips.

The inspiration for the idea came from their own experience and the stress suffered by their late daughter Saoirse during her frequent transfers from Kerry to Dublin and in whose memory the Foundation is named.

Built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis and cab, with body work by Wilkers of Clarta, Bumbleance is illustrated outside and inside in cartoon-like ‘bumble bee’ imagery intended to bring a smile to young people’s faces and keep their minds off its serious purpose.

Loaded with latest gizmos and interactive entertainment features, its young passengers can while away their trip internet and social media browsing or playing music, movies and games of all kind - without being distracted by all that medical stuff that the ambulance crew have stored-away, out of sight where only can find it.

It is envisaged that the Bumbleance service will increase to five units with a sixth air ambulance unit to follow.