TV presenter Matt Baker is gearing up for another Rickshaw Challenge similar to the one last year that raised nearly £2 million for BBC Children in Need – but he won’t be powering the vehicle on this year’s ride, with the pedalling instead supplied by six remarkable young people whose lives have been changed by the charity.
‘Team Rickshaw,’ which has been mentored by Baker, will set off from Llandudno in North Wales this Friday morning, aiming to arrive at BBC Television Centre on the evening of Friday 16 November to coincide with The One Show’s BBC Children in Need special.
Baker, whose journey 12 months ago took him from Edinburgh to London, will ride alongside the six youngsters, each of whom has benefited from the support of projects funded by BBC Children in Need.
They will take it in turns to pedal the rickshaw on the 410-mile journey, which this year takes in Dolgellau, Lampeter, Swansea, Cardiff, Bath, Salisbury and Reading on the way to the capital.
The members of the team are:
Darren (17) from County Durham. Darren has had glaucoma since he was born and is registered as partially sighted. His mum, dad, brother and sister are all registered blind.
James (18) from Kent. James has been a young carer for his mother, brother and sister since he was very young. When James isn’t at college he runs the household and looks after his family.
Jack (16) from Essex. When Jack was 4 years old he had a kidney transplant. He is very fit now and takes part in lots of sport.
Jamila (18) from London. Growing up, Jamila has seen young people around her turn to crime and gang culture. She chose not to go down this road and now works as a committed volunteer, working to help other young people.
Lauren (18) from Stirling, Scotland. Lauren suffered a brain injury after being knocked down by a car when she was 11. She spent six months in hospital and was left with a broken hip, broken right leg and fractured left arm. She has re-learnt to breathe, walk, talk and eat.
Ciaran (17) from Port Talbot in South Wales. Ciaran was born with cerebral palsy.
"The Rickshaw Challenge is one of the toughest challenges I’ve ever taken on,” said Baker. “These youngsters are going to have their work cut out for them.
“That’s why the public needs to get behind Team Rickshaw and come out and cheer them on; I know from the challenge last year what a difference the public’s support can make.
“We need to get behind them as they strive to raise as much money as possible for BBC Children in Need."
Baker’s co-host on The One Show, Alex Jones, will be also accompany the Rickshaw Challenge, drumming up support along the way and also helping host the live TV segments that will be broadcast on the programme starting on Friday evening in Dolgellau.
“I’ve met all the team,” she revealed. “They are a really inspiring bunch. It will be a real honour for Matt and me to be with them on their journey.”
Donations of £5 can be made by texting ‘TEAM’ to 70705, with texts costing £5 plus one standard rate message, and that £5 going to BBC Children in Need. People making donations must be aged over 16 and have the bill payer's permission.
BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge 2012 route
Day 1 - Llandudno to Dolgellau - 51.56 miles
Day 2 - Dolgellau to Lampeter - 58.68 miles
Day 3 - Lampeter to Swansea - 53.91 miles
Day 4 - Swansea to Cardiff - 51.59 miles
Day 5 - Cardiff to Bath - 54.76 miles
Day 6 - Bath to Salisbury - 50.81 miles
Day 7 - Salisbury to Reading - 51.55 miles
Day 8 - Reading to White City - 38.43 miles
You can find out more information about the BBC Children in Need appeal here.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.