Bear miles: Two Irish teddies set for Dublin stop as they fly around the world for charity

Capt Paddy T Bear and sidekick Lucky are photographed with pilots and crews in different countries as the pair raises funds for LauraLynn and Dogs Trust

Two teddy bears who have spent the past few months traversing the globe for charity courtesy of airline crews are set to attend an aviation fundraiser in Dublin at the end of the month.

So far, the bears have been pictured with pilots and stewards in cockpits, on aeroplane wings and even sitting in an engine in places as far apart as Seattle in the United States, Johannesburg in South Africa and Perth, Western Australia – and not forgetting Ibiza in the Balearics, Tel Aviv in Israel and Helsinki in Finland, among other places.

The bears’ travels are all part of the Aviation Ireland Challenge, a fundraiser designed to raise money for the children’s hospice LauraLynn and the animal charity Dogs Trust. The fundraiser is the brainchild of the teddy bears’ ‘carer’, Jason Phelan, a flight operations administrator with the Irish Aviation Authority.

In mixture of fantasy and ‘borrowing’ from real life, Mr Phelan created Capt Paddy T Bear – who he says is an ex-Irish Air Corp pilot – and his sidekick Lucky, based on a puppy rescued near the Royal Canal in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, in 2014.


Since January this year Capt Paddy has been bringing Lucky on a year-long adventure – the Aviation Ireland Challenge – with the target of visiting as many places as possible and raising funds along the way. All money raised by the two bears through their promotional events is being divided by the children’s hospice LauraLynn and Dogs Trust.

“I thought this up on December 28th last year – people have used bears to raise money for charity in the past and I thought it would be a good idea to use them to raise money for Laura Lynn and Dogs Trust Ireland, two great charities”, Mr Phelan told The Irish Times.

However, he said he was surprised at the speed at which the bears’ fame has spread and the enthusiasm shown for the idea by the airline community. The bears are now sponsored by Irish aircraft-leasing company ASL Airlines, and pilots and crew worldwide are getting photos taken with them.

On August 31st, the teddy bears will attend a fundraiser entitled Women in Aviation at the Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport.

The event will see former Dublin GAA manager Jim Gavin – who holds a commercial pilot’s licence – join speakers Laura Russell – an aerobatic pilot and first officer with Aer Lingus – and Lorraine Gibney – a cabin safety inspector, to discuss women in the aviation sector.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist