Will is rik-shaw to say thanks to doctors

Premature baby Will Goddard with his mum Liz at home EMN-160720-152907009
Premature baby Will Goddard with his mum Liz at home EMN-160720-152907009
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A teenager who was born nearly 18 weeks early 18 years ago is planning a trek of a lifetime across India in a rikshaw to give something back to the doctors who saved his life.

Will Goddard was the youngest premature baby to survive when he was born at Peterborough District Hospital in February 1998.

A newspaper cutting

A newspaper cutting

Will, who weighed just one pound four ounces, even went into the Guinness Book of Records.

Now he is planning a way to say thanks to the doctors who helped him and mum Liz, he is going to drive the length of India in the rikshaw - with his mum as co-driver.

They will start in Shillong and finish in Kochi two and a half weeks later.

Will said: “We are starting in North East India, and going down to the southern tip.

“We have to make our own way, with only the rikshaw and a map.

“I don’t know how we can plan for this really, but we really wanted to do something.

“I was born in February, when I was meant to be born in June.

“I am so grateful for all they did.

“I went to the unit in Peterborough again recently, and many of the doctors and nurses are still there. I was able to find out about all the people there, and the amazing work they do. I just had to do something for the unit.”

To make the trip even more tricky, Will only passed his driving test a couple of weeks ago.

He said: “I wanted to do a big holiday, and about 18 months ago I came across the Rikshaw Run.

“I said to mum it looked cool, and then we decided to go for it.

“I have been fundraising since then, collecting old laptops, phones etc to recycle them.

“So far I have raised £950 for the Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Peterborough and £775 for the Cool Earth charity, which is the official charity of the run. It helps communities in Brazil and Indonesia.

“The run will take us 3,500 km. I don’t know what to expect from the country.

“Me and my mum will share the driving and map reading. I don’t think there will be too many problems. Each day will be different, and hopefully we will get some time to sightsee.

“Some days we will be getting up at 5am to start, and won’t be where we need to finish the day until 6pm, with hours of solid driving.

“I don’t know how successful we will be at map reading - we won’t be able to stop and have an argument. Hopefully the rikshaw will not break down.”

For more information about the trip, or to sponsor Will and Liz, visit http://rickshawlikenoother.weebly.com/nicu.html