From Salford to Walford: Pudsey and pals set off on Rickshaw Challenge

Pudsey bear and friends began a 450-mile trip across the UK in Manchester today as the BBC’s One Show launched their Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge for the fourth year running.

‘Team Rickshaw’ are aiming to use pedal power to get Pudsey from ‘Salford to Walford’ as the rickshaw travels the long way round via Blackpool, Liverpool and Coventry before reaching the iconic EastEnders set.

One Show presenters Matt Baker and Alex Jones will be offering advice to the young riders as organisers are hoping to add to the £5 million they have raised over the years for the charity.

Baker said: “We’re hoping for our biggest fundraiser ever for Team Rickshaw, so the pressure is really on for the riders. And of course, to the Great British public, we need your support more than ever.”

The team is made up of five extraordinary young people who have been affected by issues the charity tackles; they will take turns to power the trike carrying the famous one-eyed mascot.

The group range in age from 16 to 20 and have all overcome different conditions from dwarfism to cerebral palsy that motivated them to take on the challenge.

As well taking on some of the UK’s most demanding routes, including Flash which at 1,500ft above sea level claims to be the nation’s highest village, the participants will also be giving speeches at locations on the route.

Despite the early morning drizzle the participants seemed in good spirits as a crowd waved them off from Media City travelling to the North West coast.

Twitter users have braved the weather to snap pictures of the team as they travel past.

Team Rickshaw and Matt Baker spotted in Bolton

The team’s journey is eagerly anticipated by people further south.

The ride is planned over eight days with today’s leg ending in Blackpool, you can follow Pudsey’s progress on the BBC’s map which tracks the route live and on the One Show . You can donate to the Rickshaw Challenge by text, either text ‘TEAM’ to 70705 for £5, or send ‘TEAM’ to 70710 to give £10.

The former Blue peter presenter, Baker, said that he and One Show colleague had ‘served their time’ cycling the rickshaw last year, but were on hand to give the team advice on public speaking.  

“It’s such a fantastic project, where people who’ve benefited from the charity first-hand can really give back, and this year we’ll be getting much more of an insight into their own stories, which brings opportunities and challenges of its own,” he added.

Co-presenter on the flagship BBC show, Jones, said that the Rickshaw Challenge was demanding physically and mentally but believed the current crop of riders has what it takes to get through the ride.

“I can still recall the aches and pain from last year’s challenge and can vouch it’s a seriously tough journey – even harder without support from the adult riders.

“This year’s team is fantastic, so here’s hoping their sheer determination will get them through. Once again we’re calling on everyone to show their support and push Team Rickshaw to their most successful year yet!”

Despite the early morning drizzle the participants seemed in good spirits as a crowd waved them off from Media City travelling to the North West coast.

Image courtesy of Team Rickshaw via Twitter, with thanks.

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