With great excitement we welcomed the BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge to The Railway Inn yesterday.
Undertaking the first leg of this year’s fundraising relay challenge was Tom Walsh, 16, who lives locally in Cheddar. Tom was nominated for the challenge by The Space, the Cheddar-based charity who supported him following the tragic loss of his dad, Rod, in 2018 and in whose memory Tom was riding the Rickshaw.
The 30-mile route took him from the SS Great Britain in Bristol, over the Clifton Suspension Bridge, through Chew Magna, down Cheddar Gorge finishing here at Myrtle Farm in Sandford.
Arriving with presenter Matt Baker, Tom was welcomed at the finish line by his Mum Ceri, and sister Carys.
In September 2018, Tom’s world was turned upside down. His Mum and Dad, both NHS workers, travelled into work together and were involved in a devastating car accident on the M5. The accident resulted in Dad, Rod tragically losing his life and left Mum, Ceri critically injured and told she may never walk again. To everyone’s relief, Ceri recovered but his catastrophic event completely changed Tom’s life, as he started to process a mixture of emotions, resulting in receiving support from BBC Children in Need funded project, The Space. The Space has delivered weekly 1:1 counselling sessions to Tom since 2018, who have continued to support and guide throughout lockdown.
Gary Delafield, our Operations Director, was also at the finish line to welcome Tom and Matt at the end of their challenge. Gary has got to know Tom over the past 12 months, volunteering his time as a support and mentor to Tom during his road to recovery.
Supporting the 2021 Rickshaw Challenge, Martin Thatcher presented a cheque to Matt and Tom during their visit to Myrtle Farm.
This year the Rickshaw Challenge for BBC Children in Need sees Matt Baker and the team take on a relay-style ride in five stages, with each rider taking a leg each, travelling through their hometowns and visiting places which hold a particular significance for them.
A full documentary will be broadcast on November 10th. Here the team’s stories will be shared, celebrating the history of The Rickshaw Challenge, and at the same time raising money to help change young lives.