Hertfordshire boy who biked 600km wins Children in Need award

Boy on a bike in France
Joel cycled from Hertfordshire to the Netherlands with a Pudsey bear on his bike

A 12-year-old boy who cycled 600km (373 miles) from England to the Netherlands for Children in Need has won the Young Fundraiser award.

Joel took just six days to ride from his home in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire to his grandparents' house in Zevenaar.

He was presented with the Sir Terry Wogan Young Fundraiser award on the BBC Children in Need live programme.

Joel said the trip had been "a childhood dream" since he was five. He managed to raise £4,140 in the process.

Joel with Michael Ball
Michael Ball (left) presented the Sir Terry Wogan Young Fundraiser award to Joel on live TV

Joel, who is a member of the Welwyn Wheelers bike club, had been planning the journey for a long time.

"I said to my mum, 'Let's cycle to Holland.' Mum said, 'Do it when you're 15,' but I got bored of waiting.

"It was just a family joke, but then we decided 'let's do this' before I was a teenager," he said.

Accompanied by his parents "for safety", Joel made quick work of the journey, even managing 152km (95 miles) in one day through France.

He said he felt "kind of nervous and kind of excited at the same time", but overall he was "quite overwhelmed" by the feat.

"But I thought it was extremely cool," he added.

Joel and his grandparents in the Netherlands
Joel said his grandparents were "so happy" when he arrived at their home in the Netherlands

He was inspired to raise money for Children in Need because of empathy with others who are less fortunate.

"I felt other children should have the same opportunity as me. For many years, I've been aware of the children who aren't as lucky as me. So I decided to do something about it," he said.

His mum Valerie said Joel was deeply moved when one of his former classmates lost both of her parents.

"He's very aware that he has parents who are able to support him. My husband takes him to all the bike rides every weekend," she said.

"He's got access to the bikes he needs and is physically able to do it. He's very conscious that not all children have that opportunity."

Joel cycling
Joel's family said his achievement was "incredible"

Joel's family have been really proud of his determination and kindness.

"He just kept going despite the weather, the mud, the hills. What he achieved is really quite incredible. I couldn't be more proud of him," said Valerie.

Joel hopes his trip will inspire others to aim for their dreams.

"Go for it! Do any wild thing that you think you can't do, but know that you can," he said.

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