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Huge Boston welcome for Rickshaw Challenge

Huge crowds cheered television celebrity Matt Baker into Boston Market Place today (Wednesday) as the BBC Children In Need Rickshaw Challenge arrived in town.

Matt, presenter on the One Show and Countryfile, arrived with his team from Skegness where they had stayed overnight, en route to their next overnight stop in King's Lynn, almost 60 miles away.

Rickshaw Matt and Mayor and Mayoress Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Welcome to Boston - Matt chats with the Mayor and Mayoress

Matt, a former Blue Peter presenter, was greeted by Boston Mayor Cllr Stephen Woodliffe, and his wife, Mayoress Catharine Woodliffe.

In the midst of a huge crush of people Matt told the Mayor and Mayoress what a great turnout to welcome them to Boston.

Looking fresh and fit, despite the huge mileage and the effort of pedalling a three-wheeled rickshaw, Matt, who comes from farming stock, spoke to the Mayor about the agricultural countryside they had cycled through.

First to appear in the midst of the usual Wednesday market was the BBC Children In Need support team featuring Pudsey, TV crew and security. Motorcycle outriders with blue lights flashing signalled the imminent arrival of the rickshaw. Matt paused to meet the Mayor and Mayoress and was immediately overwhelmed by a crowd desperate for photographs.

A BBC Children In Need spokesman said: "It's like this every time. As soon as they stop the crowds rush in. Matt is very accommodating, and wants everyone to have a chance to get their picture and chat, but he has a schedule to keep."

Boston Borough Council intervened to persuade the marathon east coast cycle ride organisers to divert from their original course along John Adams Way to the London Road roundabout so that Matt and his support team could come through the Market Place to meet more people.

They journeyed along Freiston Road/Vauxhall Road/Main Ridge East and then along John Adams Way for a short distance to the Bargate roundabout.

From there the rickshaw and entourage made its way along Wide Bargate and Strait Bargate and into the Market Place, exiting along South Street to the junction with John Adams Way. They crossed over to High Street to make their way to the ATS roundabout and then on to London Road, passing through Wyberton and Kirton on their way to King's Lynn, a total distance of around 60 miles.

Matt's cycling colleagues include six young riders who have been supported by BBC Children In Need-funded projects. Matt will ride alongside them while Alex Jones will cheer them on, live from the studio. The Skegness/Boston/King's Lynn section will feature on BBC1 Look North tonight at 6.30pm and then the One Show on BBC1 tonight at 7pm.

Since it began the Rickshaw Challenge has raised more than £12 million. You can help this year's event by turning out to cheer Matt and the team through Boston (you may appear on live TV) and by making a £5 or £10 donation by text - text TEAM to 70405 to donate a fiver and TEAM to 70410 to give a tenner.

Rickshaw Challenger with Pudsey Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Pudsey meets the Mayor and Mayoress

Rickshaw pedalling Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Off they go - next stop Wyberton, Kirton and on to King's Lynn