Matt Baker shares his sadness as host’s Children in Need challenge is axed

Matt Baker spoke of his disappointment after learning he wouldn’t be completing his Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge this year for the first time in 13 years.

The 45-year-old Countryfile presenter looked crestfallen as he took to Instagram to reveal the saddening news to his 334,000 followers.

Gesturing to a neon yellow rickshaw behind him, he gave a “massive, massive thank you to all of those young riders who’ve been in this saddle”.

He expressed his sadness that the experience wouldn’t be repeated in 2023 but reminded supporters that they’d raised “well over £45 million” thanks to the challenge in the past.

“The rickshaw might not be riding again, but there are loads of ways we can support Children in Need this year, so let’s see what we can all do together to give those young people and their families the support they need so much,” Matt exclaimed in his video.

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Meanwhile, over on his caption, he detailed the reason why his challenge had been axed, explaining: “Children in Need’s programming offerings and fundraising initiatives change year by year.”

“It’s a real disappointment not to be out riding on the UK streets as the Rickshaw Challenge has been a highlight of Children in Need for me for the past 13 years,” he exclaimed.

“I’d like to thank you supporters for all the lives you’ve helped Team Rickshaw change and the impact you’ve had on so many young people. You’ve been incredible!”

He concluded: “Please get behind this years appeal in any way you can – from our Countryfile Ramble to your local fundraisers, as I’ve witnessed first hand, its remarkable what can be achieved when we all get stuck in together.”

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He was inundated with responses from more than 13,000 fans, including wife Nicola, who declared: “Raising more than £45million over the years with the Rickshaw and those wonderful riders is amazing. We’re all really proud of you xx.”

Meanwhile, his mum Janice and Dad Mike chimed in from their own account, @hellofromthehill.

“Congratulations son on all the thousands of miles you’ve pedalled for over a decade alongside so many awesome young people, bringing such joy and laughter along the way- we are truly proud. Mum Dad x,” they praised.

One fan, @nobbys31, declared: “Very sad not to see you out on the Rickshaw. Your dedication to the young people and families Matt has been awesome. You’ve always been incredibly supportive. Kept them motivated and battled through extreme weather with a smile & the difficulties during Covid.”

Meanwhile, Vernon Kay has been busily raising an impressive £5 million over the course of a four-day marathon from Leicester all the way to his home town of Bolton.

The exhausted but determined Radio 2 presenter was overwhelmed with emotion after receiving a phone call from his parents cheering him on this week – and his wife, Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly, echoed their support.

Tess shared her joy via a series of Instagram posts, explaining this morning: “Absolutely gutted not to be at the finish line not to cheer you on today @vernonkay! (am at Strictly) BUT what a moment, what an achievement, I am SO PROUD of what you’ve done!

“I can see in your body that it’s taken a physical toll but I know that it won’t matter right now, as the [amount of money raised] is just incredible!”

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