Scores of people braved the cold weather to welcome Pudsey Bear and the Rickshaw Challenge team to Hartlepool.
The popular One Show’s Rickshaw Challenge has returned for the sixth year with the team covering a 470-mile journey from the Scottish market town of Jedburgh to central London, all to raise money for BBC Children in Need.
One of the legs of the journey took the rickshaw across the North East and into Hartlepool for the evening, where supporters, including The Mayor of Hartlepool, Coun Rob Cook, were waiting to cheer them on.
The youngest Pudsey fan was 11-day-old Oliver Kell, who was dressed in the same outfit as the bear.
Mum Helen, 29, from Peterlee, said: “My friend bought him the outfit so I had to bring him when the Rickshaw was coming to Hartlepool.”
This year the rickshaw is being pedalled by six young riders, all of whom have been supported by BBC Children in Need funded projects.
Every year I am inspired by the incredible young peopleMatt Baker
The One Show presenter Matt Baker is on the road cycling alongside the team offering support and advice throughout the journey, whilst Alex Jones is following every step of the way, cheering on the team, live from studio.
Matt said riding through his North East homeland had been a great experience and the support they had during the day was fantastic.
He 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.
To date the challenge has raised more than £12million and in keeping with tradition, the young riders will not only test their pedal power, but also their mettle, as they deliver speeches to a live audience explaining their motivations for taking on the challenge this year.
The team hopes their efforts will not only help them raise money, but awareness of the real difference being made to disadvantaged children and young people’s lives across the UK thanks to BBC Children in Need.
Among the riders this year is 18-year-old Ross Jackson from Sunderland who was thrilled with the support from everyone.
He said: “It has been absolutely amazing.”
The team will make its way down the country and cross the finish line in London on Friday 18th November, in time for the BBC Children in Need Appeal Show.
To support the challenge, you can donate either £5 or £10 by text. To donate £5 text the TEAM to 70405 and for £10 text TEAM to 70410.