It’s the only rickshaw of its kind in the UK.

It’s the only rickshaw of its kind in the UK, according to Freemasons in Upminster and after years of ferrying passengers in China it’s finding a new role helping to raise thousands of pounds for Children with Cancer – but it has been a bumpy and slightly challenging ride so far.

On its first outing – a 110 mile fund raising journey from Upminster to Norfolk – it ended up in ditch following a sudden manoeuvre, was stopped by police in Cambridgeshire who wanted to take a picture, had the chain snap a few times but eventually it arrived complete with its 10 man crew to raise £6,500 for good causes.

The “Rickshaw Challenge” set up by Peter Banks, chairman of the Upminster Masonic Centre, purchased the machine with the support of other local Masons and shipped it to the UK at a cost of £2,500. Once in the country, Peter via his Lodge Seven Kings 2749 and with help from Masons from other Lodges claimed it was all worth it in the end.

“Freemasons like to raise money for charities and we are always looking for something new and innovative,” said Peter. “I saw the rickshaw on a business trip to China and thought it would be an eye catching and different way to support charities. However, when it arrived we realised that it was originally made for smaller riders but we quickly adapted it by moving the seat and making a few adjustments.”

“The members at Upminster loved the idea of a fund raiser so we decided to set off on a 110 mile sponsored ride which took us a couple days to complete and while it was not without incident – the end result has been worth it.”

Riders Mick Hughes, Paddy Jones, Terry Gilliland, Simon Porter and Rob Hooper took five mile shifts on the rickshaw supported by the rest of the team that followed on in transit vans, sponsored by local deal Glyn Hopkins and driven by Albert Summers, Peter Banks, Bill Caten, Kevin Davies and Graham Elvidge.

Now that the rickshaw has had its first outing the question is where will it go next? That has still to be decided but if you see a strange looking bicycle coming your way complete with all the oriental trappings you will know it is set to raise cash for yet another good cause.