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People brave rain as Children in Need celebrity Matt Baker passes through Rutland

More than 20 hardy souls, including young children, braved the rain to wait for Children in Need celebrity Matt Baker.

The star of BBC shows including The One Show and Country File, has been pulling a rickshaw across Britain in aid of the BBC’s big annual charity telethon, which takes place tomorrow (Friday).

His 400-mile route from Holyhead in Wales to London saw the presenter leave Melton Mowbray early yesterday, arriving at Barleythorpe at 8.30am, a little later than scheduled.

By 8am a small crowd was gathering and it was barely daylight. The heavens had opened, but this did not dampen the enthusiasm of those present.

Tracey and Colin Carr live nearby and said: “Because it is such a fantastic cause, you have to show your support.”

The health and wellbeing programme manager admitted waiting to see the rickshaw challenge would make her late for work, but that she would make up for it.

Jeff and Katharine Walklate also live nearby, in Barleythorpe. Katharine said she had to turn up and show her support because ‘Children in Need makes me cry’.

“I find it quite emotional really,” she said of how the fundraiser helps children.

Youngsters also stood in the rain, including eight-year-old Elliott Taylor, with younger brother Toby, aged 4.

Elliott had come to see Pudsey Bear, saying he watches him on the telly.

Dad Matthew Taylor said: “It’s great for the kids. They will be late for school but so will everybody else in Langham.”

Nine-year-old Charlotte Resoli from Barelythorpe was smiling widely at seeing theevent first-hand: “I see Pudsey every year at Carfest,” she added.

Marianne Lismey and Carol Haylock agreed Children in Need was a ‘fantastic’ charity and seeing Matt and Pudsey would be ‘fantastic’ for the children.

Then, all of a sudden, the small crowd whooped with delight as Matt Baker and his entourage came into view. People took photos as they passed, without stopping. There were vans, a couple of police officers, and Matt Baker riding an empty rickshaw.

There appeared no sign of Pudsey. Perhaps he was in a van sheltering from the elements? It was all over in a flash as the rickshaw challenge headed off to Oakham.

The crowd suddenly rushed home or got into cars parked nearby.

Minutes later, after negotiating the Oakham town centre traffic, the rickshaw challenge passed the southern end of the bypass, on the way to Corby and disappeared into the wet, grey yonder.

The highlights of the Rutland leg will be broadcast on The One Show on BBC 1 tonight.

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