Bedford Rickshaw Challenge raises over £1,000 for BBC Children in Need

Howard Darbon and the Bedford Rickshaw Challenge team cycled 100 laps of Bedford Park

Undeterred by the wind and rain, a group of Bedfordians raised over £1,000 for Children in Need over the weekend, inspired by the BBC Children in Need’s annual ‘rickshaw challenge’.

The Bedford Rickshaw Challenge took place in Bedford Park, with a team of riders completing 100 laps – the equivalent of 75 miles.

The Children in Need challenge was organised by Howard Darbon, who imported and adapted a genuine rickshaw a few years ago.

“My wife, Hazel, and I visited Bangladesh in 2014 and experienced rides on a genuine person-powered rickshaw,” said Howard.

“We were so impressed and inspired by the BBC’s Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge we decided to have a rickshaw imported.

“We needed to have a larger bicycle fitted as most of the rickshaws in Bangladesh were pedalled by smaller men and it would be nearly impossible for a person over 6′ to ride it properly, and so we only ordered the rear portion.

“This duly arrived, we found a second-hand throw away bicycle at the local tip and had it welded on to the actual rickshaw.  A few adjustments and we were ready for action.

“Two years ago we managed our first Children in Need event raising around £3,000.  Last year we were away and could not do anything and this year we thought the the lockdown would affect us.”

Once Howard realised the BBC’s Rickshaw Challenge would not be able to go ahead due to lockdown restrictions, he decided at the least minute that he could and should do something and the idea of the Bedford Rickshaw Challenge was born.

“We could not take passengers because of social distancing rules, but it was good exercise and we decided to gather together a few friends to undertake the challenge over the weekend.

“The weather forecast was not that conducive but apart from a really heavy 10 minute shower on Sunday morning, it was really quite pleasant and the Park soon filled up with people enjoying themselves.”
The event attracted a lot of interest with people taking photos of the rickshaw and the fundraising team handed out flyers with their Justgiving details.
“We stuck to the task and completed the 100 circuits at around 1pm on Sunday and we beat our £1,000 target, with the total having reached £1,085.
“Many thanks to all who donated and if you would like to donate it is not too late, just go to our Justgiving page.
“The event would not have been possible without the help of a team of volunteer pedallers supporting Howard – Sam Sawyer, Paolo Pimentel, Dave Woolhouse, Phillip Hine, Ed Warren and David Khinda, all of whom completed many circuits.
“We are now looking forward to next year when we hope that the effects of the virus will have significantly reduced and we will be free to take passengers in the rickshaw, and raising more money for such an important cause.”

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