Hitchin braves cold as big crowds welcome Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge
PUBLISHED: 16:55 15 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:14 15 November 2019
The Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge 2019 passed through Hitchin this afternoon, as hundreds gathered to cheer on BBC presenter Matt Baker and his team of charity riders.
Big crowds were building in Market Place as early as 10.30am in anticipation for the rickshaw's arrival, buoyed on by the Hitchin Sea Cadet marching band.
Despite running later than scheduled, The One Show rickshaw made its way up Bancroft - lined by throngs of cheering supporters - before stopping briefly in the market square, where Matt Baker was presented with a cheque for £1,000 by the Hitchin Tilehouse Rotary Club.
The rickshaw was also spurred on by pupils from Wilshere-Dacre Junior Academy - sporting Pudsey ears and Children in Need flags - and Stand By Me 'young ambassadors'.
Stand By Me project manager, Karen Stanton, said: "BBC Children in Need have generously supported our service over the years, so it was great to be able to show them our support along with our young ambassadors, as they rode through the community we work with."
The rickshaw is completing the final leg of its 400-mile journey today - from Holyhead to the BBC's Elstree studios in Borehamwood - and will be riding into the One Show studio at 7pm for the start of the live broadcast.
Since 2011, The One Show's Rickshaw Challenge has raised more than £25 million for BBC Children in Need. And this year sees a new-improved rickshaw guide-trike, built by McLaren engineers.
Fixed to the front of the vehicle, the guide-trike allows steering and braking to be managed by a guide rider while a visually impaired rider pedals from the main driving seat.
Watford-born Kelsey - who was left blind after cancer was found in his right eye as a child - was one of the six young riders joining Matt Baker on the journey.
"I am determined to prove that being blind should never be a barrier," the 17-year-old said.
"I hope that the public get behind us, come out to support us on the road, and donate to BBC Children in Need."
To follow the rickshaw's progress, visit https://www.bbcchildreninneed.co.uk/shows/the-rickshaw-challenge-2019/ as it completes the final leg of its journey this evening.