Rickshaw rider helps raise millions for TV appeal

Bonnyrigg teenager Olivia Preston taking part in the BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge as it leaves Jedburgh. Photo by Stewart Attwood.

Bonnyrigg teenager Olivia Preston taking part in the BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge as it leaves Jedburgh. Photo by Stewart Attwood.

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A Bonnyrigg teenager has helped raise a record £3.8 million for The One Show’s Rickshaw Challenge for BBC Children in Need.

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Preston was one of six young riders to undertake the 470-mile journey down Britain’s East Coast from Jedburgh to London.

She was selected for the challenge following her involvement with Deaf Action, a project supporting deaf children and young people, which receives funding from BBC Children in Need.

Olivia was born profoundly deaf, but at the age of two she received a cochlear implant, and is now an active part of the deaf and hearing communities.

Her mum and dad are deaf, whilst her brother can hear. Olivia has found that belonging to both worlds can be challenging, but at Deaf Action she can just enjoy being herself with people who understand this.

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

Reflecting on the Rickshaw Challenge, Olivia said: “One of the most memorable moments in the challenge for me was riding with Matt Baker through a proper rain-storm to reach Duxford in time for Thursday’s show, and a surprise visit from my friends and family.

“I am so grateful for everyone who got behind us and donated or cheered us on at the roadside.

“You helped keep me and the team going every single mile, and thanks to you we’ve raised this amazing total that will help change so many lives.”

Matt Baker cycled alongside the rickshaw throughout the whole journey. He said: “Each member of this year’s Team Rickshaw should be incredibly proud of their hard work – 470 miles over some of the UK’s toughest terrain at this time of year is no easy thing!

“Not only have they helped raise another phenomenal total, which will go on to benefit even more young lives just like theirs, but they overcame many personal challenges of their own out on the road.”

Aidan McCorry, Deaf Action’s chief executive, said: “We were all thrilled when Olivia was selected to take part in this year’s Rickshaw Challenge.

“She is a highly regarded member of our youth service and an excellent role model.

“Her achievement not only demonstrated her positive attitude and determination but also made a significant contribution to raising the deaf awareness of the many thousands of people who followed the progress of the challenge.”