Derry teenager to take part in ‘The One Show’ Rickshaw Challenge

Derry teen Kayla Cannon with the presenters of The One Show Alex Jones and Matt Baker
Derry teen Kayla Cannon with the presenters of The One Show Alex Jones and Matt Baker

A Derry teenager is to take part in the annual Rickshaw Challenge as part of BBC Children in Need campaign.

Kayla Canning is one of a six strong team of young people who have all been supported by BBC Children in Need funded projects.

They will be joined by ‘The One Show’s’ Matt Baker during the eight day challenge which, for the first time, will begin in France.

The team will pedal 31 miles through the service tunnel of the Channel Tunnel - a route only travelled previously by the likes of professional cyclists.

Once through the tunnel, the team will make their way through England and Wales, before finally finishing in Salford on Friday, November 16, during the BBC ‘Children in Need Appeal Show.’

Sixteen-years-old Kayla always felt very loved when she was growing up, but her mother struggled to look after her as she suffered from alcoholism. Kayla went to live with her grandfather at the age of seven, but was always close to her mother.

In January 2017, Kayla’s mum died from an alcohol related condition and when she passed away Kayla struggled to process what had happened.

Kayla’s dad is also registered disabled after contracting a rare flesh eating bug and she helps care for him.

Kayla has been supported by the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum thanks to a £98,433 grant from BBC Children in Need.

They deliver the ‘Moving On Up’ programme which is designed to empower young people to achieve their potential and help them deal more effectively with personal and social issues that may affect their physical and mental health.

For Kayla the project has been a lifeline to her and she credits them for helping her deal with her grief.

Kayla said: “I found it really difficult when I lost my mum, and without the help of the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum I don’t know how I would have got through it.

“I’m really looking forward to heading out on the Rickshaw Challenge! I hope that by sharing my story, other young people who have lost a parent, or been through a situation like mine, will be able to see that they are not alone and that it’s possible to get help.”

The team’s progress will be broadcast live on ‘The One Show’ from November 9, as co-presenter Alex Jones follows them on the 423 mile journey.

Since 2011, ‘The One Show’s’ Rickshaw Challenge has raised over £21 million for BBC Children in Need. with every penny going on to make a difference to the lives of children and young people across the UK who need it most.

This year the public is being asked to take on their own cycling challenge to raise money and ‘Ride with Team Rickshaw’ by logging their miles through the cycling app Strava, which will automatically add their distance to the collective total.

To support the Rickshaw Challenge, you can donate £5, £10 or £20 by text by sending the word TEAM and an amount to 70405.

For more information visit bbc.co.uk/pudsey