Rickshaw charity challenge returns to Borders next week

Matt Baker and Alex Jones, presenters of the One Show, with 2017's Team Rickshaw.
Matt Baker and Alex Jones, presenters of the One Show, with 2017's Team Rickshaw.

The One Show’s charity rickshaw challenge returns to the region next week, and Borderers are being urged to show their support.

This year’s team will pedal 500 miles to help raise money for BBC Children in Need, setting off from London today, November 9, and heading north to Glasgow.

The rickshaw is being ridden by six young riders all supported by BBC Children in Need-funded projects.

One Show presenter Matt Baker will cycle alongside the team throughout the challenge, and co-presenter Alex Jones will chart their progress live from the studio during screenings of the BBC One magazine show.

To date, the challenge, now in its seventh year, has raised more than £16m.

The team will travel up from Penrith in Cumbria to Hawick, via Newcastleton, along the A7 Carlisle-Edinburgh road next Wednesday, November 15.

After an overnight stop in Hawick, the rickshaw riders will head north via Ashkirk, Selkirk, Stow and Heriot, and they are due to arrive in Glasgow on Friday, November 17, in time for this year’s BBC Children in Need appeal show.

This will be the challenge’s first stop in Hawick since its inaugural journey in 2011, and it has only been back to the Borders once since, setting off from Jedburgh last year en route for London.

This year’s six-strong team includes two Scots – Greg Francis, 18, of Dunfermline, and Shona Beveridge, 17, of Inverness.

Former Blue Peter presenter Baker, 39, said: “I really look forward to this time of year, when I get to jump on my bike and hit the road with Team Rickshaw to raise money for BBC Children in Need, a cause that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s the highlight of my year.

“We have an epic 500-mile cycle ahead, and I just know that our six young riders have the determination and grit to make it through this year’s rickshaw challenge. They really are an incredible team.

“The rest is down to you, the Great British public. We hope that you’ll continue to give your support, so follow our journey, show your support for this inspiring group, and if you see us on the road, honk or wave hello.”

Jones, 40, added: “I hope you’ll join me and follow every moment of this year’s rickshaw challenge as this inspirational team of young riders pulls out all the stops to raise money for BBC Children in Need.

“It’s thanks to your support over the last six years that the challenge has made such a difference to young lives, helping even our own Team Rickshaw members when they’ve needed it the most.

“I urge you to rally behind the team and help make year seven the most successful one yet.”

Simon Antrobus, BBC Children in Need’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to see the rickshaw challenge return.

“This really is a very special and important fundraiser for the charity because it not only sheds light on the real life challenges many children and young people face, but it also shows that, despite these challenges, with the right support they can achieve great things and inspire others along the way.

“This year’s rickshaw team is truly inspiring, and I know everyone will give as generously as before to help other young people just like them.”

Viewers of the One Show will be able to follow Team Rickshaw’s progress daily, and a real-time update on the youngsters’ progress is available at pudsey.viewranger.com

To support the challenge, you can donate either £5, £10 or £20 by text. To donate £5, text the word TEAM to 70405. To donate £10, text TEAM to 70410. To donate £20, text the word TEAM to 70420. Texts will cost your donation, plus your standard network message charge.

For full terms and conditions, go to bbc.co.uk/pudsey