Olivia pedals for Children in Need

Bonnyrigg teenager Olivia Preston with The One Show presenters Alex Jones and Matt Baker
Bonnyrigg teenager Olivia Preston with The One Show presenters Alex Jones and Matt Baker

A Bonnyrigg teenager is to face one of the toughest charity ventures when she joins The One Show Rickshaw Challenge for Children in Need.

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Preston is part of the six-man team which will be cycling from the Scottish Borders to London.

Profoundly deaf Olivia and the rest of the team will tackle the 470-miles down the east coast, setting off tomorrow (Friday) from Jedburgh.

They will be joined on the adventure by BBC presenter Matt Baker with The One Show co-presenter Alex Jones cheering them on live from the studio.

The aim is to reach central London in time for Children in Need day on Friday, November 18.

Olivia was selected for the challenge following her involvement with Deaf Action, a project funded by BBC Children in Need.

The teenager said: “I’m looking forward to representing the deaf community out on the road, for so many reasons.

“One of those is that funding from BBC Children in Need has allowed Deaf Action to make a big difference to young people like me, and I want the chance to return the favour.

“Also, I’m keen to show people that deafness doesn’t make anyone less competent, and I hope that people watching at home will be motivated by that.”

Both of Olivia’s parents are deaf whilst her brother can hear. In her family, British Sign Language is the first language. However, at the age of two and a half, Olivia received a cochlear implant, and is now an active part of the deaf and hearing communities.

At Deaf Action, Olivia credits the group with showing her that deafness does not have to restrict her life choices and opportunities. In addition, she now takes the time to mentor other young deaf people to help them overcome issues of bullying and exclusion.

Matt Baker said: “Every year I am inspired by the incredible young people who take on the Rickshaw Challenge, and this year is no different. The six young riders in Team Rickshaw have faced major challenges in their lives already, but thanks to the charity they have been able to overcome so much; and now they feel ready to give back. We hope that the public will rally behind them to help raise more money for BBC Children in Need. It really does make such a difference.”