The autorickshaw is not a common sight in the United Kingdom, but a British man is setting off on a journey across the nation on Monday to raise funds for charity organisation Healing Little Hearts, active in India and other countries.
Fitted with a pacemaker, Steve Gibbs, who is based in Wigston in the east Midlands, wants to raise £6000 pounds for the Leicestershire charity by riding his favourite Bajaj autorickshaw.
Some autorickshaws – better known as tuk-tuks here – are allowed to operate on short journeys in parts of the country. The India-style cycle rickshaw is more visible in central London, where customers use them to traverse short distances or around tourist attractions.
Seeking funds online, Gibbs said: “Departing on July 17, I will drive my genuine Indian Bajaj (autorickshaw) from Wigston, Leicestershire, to 12 cardinal points of mainland England, Wales and Scotland… to raise money for the charity Healing Little Hearts which sends teams of surgeons, doctors and nurses to such countries as India, Africa and Malaysia…to teach and give life-saving heart operations to babies and very young children.
“I am now 77 years old and kept alive by a heart pacemaker. For me to help these desperate children is payback time”, Gibbs, who aims to cover 3,000 miles in 21 days, said.
The 12 points he will travel in the autorickshaw to are Lizard Point, Land’s End, Lowestoft Ness and Marshall’s Meadow Bay (in England); Lady Wood Park, Breaksea Point, St Justinian’s Bay and Point of Ayre (in Wales); and Mull of Galloway, Adnamurchan Point, Dunnet Head and Keith’s Inch, Peterhead (in Scotland).
The Healing Little Hearts charity is founded by Leicester-based consultant Sanjiv Nichani.
In 2016, Gibbs completed a 2,500 mile-journey across the UK to raise funds for Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation.