Sunderland this year will be the starting point of the 12th Rickshaw Challenge for BBC Children in Need as local teenager joins the team alongside Matt Baker for special programme.

The return of the Rickshaw Challenge was announced earlier this week, and this morning (Saturday 8th October) the challenge’s Rickshaw Riders were announced live on BBC Breakfast.

Alexander Walker, 16 from Sunderland will be taking part in the Challenge which will start with him and Matt Baker at the Stadium of Light and will see them cycle a route through Sunderland and Durham.

This year, The Rickshaw Relay Rides Again (1×60), made by BBC Studios for BBC One, will see Matt Baker MBE and a team of five incredibly inspiring young people, all of whom have been supported by BBC Children in Need funded projects, take on a relay-style ride over five days. Each rider will take a section of the journey, travelling through their hometowns and visiting places across the UK which hold a particular significance for them along the way.

The Rickshaw Relay will take place between Monday 17th October and Friday 21st October and this year, in a first for the challenge, BBC Breakfast will be live with Matt Baker MBE and the team every morning from 6:00am where the public will be able to follow their journey. The challenge will then be broadcast in a documentary, The Rickshaw Relay Rides Again, on BBC One on Tuesday 15th November.

This one-off special, will not only share the team’s remarkable stories but also celebrate the history of this much-loved BBC Children in Need staple, while at the same time raising life-changing money for the charity, as part of its 2022 Appeal.

This year’s team is made up of:

Alexander Walker, 16 from Sunderland. Alexander was diagnosed with autism aged 2, which meant he often struggled to connect with others and for a few years he didn’t talk at all.  However life started to improve for Alexander and his family once he secured a place at an autism specific school. In time he also discovered two local charities Grace House and The Foundation of Light, both supported by BBC Children in Need. Attending the projects allowed him to make new friends, learn new skills, increase his independence, have fun and grow in confidence.  Grace House runs youth groups where Alexander has learnt lots of independent life skills and The Foundation of Light has enabled Alexander to get involved in sports sessions and to take part in volunteering.

Kai Frisby, 16 from Aberystwyth, Wales. Kai was born with Cerebral Palsy and has had limited mobility all his life.  Despite an operation at the age of 7 to help him walk, Kai is a full time wheelchair user.   When he discovered Aberystwyth Wheelchair Basketball, which is funded by BBC Children in Need to provide basketball sessions for disabled and non-disabled young people, he found a new passion and determination, as well new friends and his identity – his head coach says he was a natural.  He has since made the Commonwealth Games qualifiers and carried the baton in the relay.

Sanna Ahmad, 20 from Birmingham. All of Sanna’s life, she has lived with an inherited blood disorder, called Thalassemia. It means there’s less haemoglobin in her blood, which is needed to carry oxygen around the body.  Every four weeks Sanna spends a day in hospital having a blood transfusion, without this she’d become anaemic and extremely tired. Although not outwardly visible, Thalassemia impacts heavily on day to day life. As a child Sanna often found herself too tired to join in with activities or be able to fully participate in school life.  And until now, has never ridden a bike.

At 12 years old she was introduced to OSCAR Birmingham, a project supporting children with Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Anaemia and is funded by BBC Children in Need.  Here Sanna was able to meet others like her and get the support she needed.   Now aged 20, Sanna is still at OSCAR to mentor younger children, giving the same support back that she once received.  She has also become inspired to train as a child nurse.

Tabitha Tuckley, 17 from Northampton. Two years ago, Tabitha’s world turned upside down when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian cancer – a type of cancer that usually affects older women and can obviously have lasting effects. For a 16 year old girl, who loved her fitness, this was utterly devastating.  With a tumour that weighed 2kg, she quickly underwent 7 hours of surgery, which was then followed by ongoing and intensive treatment which caused hair loss.  She was left weak, unmotivated and in pain but with her incredible attitude, support from family & close friends, as well as a charity called PASIC Cancer Support, she finished her final round of chemo in March 2021 and is now doing really well. PASIC Cancer Support receives funding from BBC Children in Need to provide support to families of children and young people living with cancer.

Quinlan Dunne, 18 from Warrington. Life seemed to stand still for Quinlan when he lost his 19 year old brother, River, in a tragic accident in 2016. River was one of the four members of the band Viola Beach, who all died, along with their manager, when their car came off a bridge in Sweden. It made headline news across the world but at home Quinlan and his family were left devastated and didn’t know where to turn. Thankfully they found Child Bereavement UK, who are funded by BBC Children in Need, who were able to offer counselling for children and young people who find themselves dealing with such unthinkable grief.

Matt Baker MBE, who has ridden alongside inspirational Rickshaw riders, all supported by BBC Children in Need, on the Rickshaw Challenge for the last 12 years, said: “I am so excited to get back on the road again. This is the highlight of my year and I can’t wait for you to meet this group of riders who all have their own inspiring stories to tell.

“We’d love to have your support on the road this year, but if you can’t make it please tune in and watch us on BBC Breakfast every morning, and when the documentary airs on 15th November. We know it’s a challenging year for everyone, but if you’re able to donate, it would be greatly appreciated and it will make a huge difference to the lives of children and young people all over the UK.”

In a special twist this year, a sixth day of the challenge will be held at Silverstone with members of the public invited to come and cycle alongside the rickshaw and clock up as many miles around the world famous racing track as possible to raise money for BBC Children in Need.

BBC Children in Need Content Director, Tommy Nagra, commented: “We want you to get on your bike and Pedal for Pudsey. We want you to get sponsored and get turning those wheels … whether you’re riding around your favourite spot or cycling to work, you could be on the open road or in your living room, you can help raise money that will make a life changing difference to children right across the UK. We’ve got everything you need to take on your own challenge, inspired by the Rickshaw Relay. Simply head to”

Viewers who would like to follow the Rickshaw Relay on its journey will be able to follow via BBC Breakfast every morning, on @BBCBreakfast and @BBCCiN on social media and via the tracker:


Notes to Editors

Routes – Start and end points

Day 1 – Monday 17th October – Sunderland to Durham
Day 2 – Tuesday 18th October – Warrington to Wrexham
Day 3 – Wednesday 19th October – Aberystwyth
Day 4 –
Thursday 20th October – Birmingham to Kenilworth
Day 5 –
Friday 21st October – Wellingborough to Silverstone

Quotes from the Rickshaw Riders:

Alexander: “I’m so excited to be a part of this year’s Rickshaw Relay team, and to be starting at my beloved Sunderland AFC is like a dream come true. I can’t wait to head out on the road alongside Matt Baker and see all of the challenge’s supporters from the north east coming out on the road. If you can’t make it then please tune in and watch when the documentary airs!”

Kai: “Being a part of this year’s Rickshaw Relay team is going to be really special. I’ve been supported by Aberystwyth Wheelchair Basketball, who have made such a huge difference to my life. I want to give something back and help raise money that will go on to benefit other young people, like me.”

Sanna: “The Rickshaw Relay is going to be a huge challenge for me, particularly as I’ve never ridden a bike before but it’s something that I can’t wait to take on and know that I’ll have the best support throughout the challenge from Matt Baker, and of course from all of my family and friends cheering on the roadside too. The money that we raise will benefit so many young people who are facing challenges in their lives, so if you are able to please donate.”

Tabitha: “Taking on this challenge is something that I never imagined I could do a couple of years ago, so I can’t wait to get out there on the road and smash it! I can’t wait to see people lining the route and showing their support, I really hope that we can raise some money that will go on to make a huge difference to other young people across the UK.”

Quinlan: “I’m really looking forward to taking part in the Rickshaw Relay! The BBC Children in Need funded Child Bereavement UK helped support me through one of the toughest moments in my life when I lost my brother, and that support was invaluable. I’m taking part in this challenge to give back and help other young people who are going through a tough time to get back on their feet.”

About BBC Children in Need

  • BBC Children in Need believe every child and young person deserves the opportunity to thrive and be the best they can be.
  • BBC Children in Need’s ambition is to create lasting, positive change across the UK for the children and young people who need it most. Together with the BBC and partners, BBC Children in Need aim to inspire the nation in support of their work.
  • BBC Children in Need’s 2,300 local charities and projects work tirelessly in every corner of the UK to help children & young people overcome the challenges they currently face, including supporting children & young people living in poverty, providing emergency support to families in crisis, providing comfort to children feeling sad, lost and alone, helping children overcome inequality and supporting children to feel safe and secure again

Find out more at
Twitter: @BBCCIN Instagram: @bbccin Facebook: @bbcchildreninneed

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