Countryfile star Matt Baker has been fronting the Rickshaw Challenge for 11 years now, and has raised over £41 million during his time doing it.
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Over the past two years, the challenge has been changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with this year Matt and the team taking the rickshaw on the road crossing the United Kingdom from Somerset to Manchester, followed by Liverpool, Southport, Cumbria and then Edinburgh. Speaking shortly after completing the second leg of the journey, Matt sat down to speak to HELLO! about the importance of the rickshaw and how his own family inspire him.
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"We're very close, my whole family," he explained. "That always been my motivation, with everything that I've done in my life has always been my family and providing for my family and they've always come first."
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He added: "Family have always been so important to me, when I said I was leaving the One Show to spend more time with my family, and then suddenly, everybody was. The timing of lockdown and me leaving the One Show was quite was quite incredible. We were very fortunate to be in the middle of nowhere, all together for lockdown."
The 43-year-old was also full of praise for the British public for the enthusiasm that they have shown for the incredible project over the years, enthusing: "It's the generosity of the British public and the fact that nationally we hold Children in Need so dear, don't we?
"It goes back to that concept of community, helping your neighbour, that thought of what would you do as a parent if you needed that help and that care for your child. There's a lot of love for the charity, a lot of love for Children In Need, a lot of us have grown up with it and I think at its heart, it's a wonderful thing to try and raise money for, which is certainly my motivation as a parent now."
The Rickshaw Challenge has raised over £41 million
This year, Matt has been joined by five incredibly inspirational riders ranging from Thomas, 16, who lost his father in a car accident to Millie, 20, who required a liver transplant when she was just a baby after she was diagnosed with the rare liver condition, Alagille Syndrome, which causes bile to build up in the organ.
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On Tuesday, Matt rode with Rainbow, an 18-year-old who is blind due to anavidea mystagnus, a condition which means his eyes couldn't focus and he had glaucoma.
The pair had an emotional ending to their journey, as the former One Show star revealed: "As we cycled in, the rain came down about 15 minutes before we finished, so we were slightly soggy on arrival.
"But I'll tell you, the reception that we got was just wonderful. This is the whole point of taking the rickshaw to those places that are really special for the young riders that you get to sense how life-changing these places have been, that sense of community and that sense of support."
Matt has fronted the challenge since 2011
It's not just how the challenge is being run this year that's different, it's also how it will be broadcast that's different too. In previous years, Matt has given frequent updates on The One Show, but now that he's departed, the Rickshaw Challenge will be broadcast as a one-off documentary during Children in Need.
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"With one program, you keep your fingers crossed that we can raise what we can and be as life changing for as many young people as possible because for me, that's all it's about, it's helping as many people as we can in the time that we've got," he said of the change.
The Great Rickshaw Relay Challenge will be broadcast on 10th November, BBC One at 19:30 and any donations can be made via bbc.co.uk/Pudsey.
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