Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland arthritis battler Zahra Baz joins stars of BBC Countryfile for a ramble at Causeway

By Ann W Schmidt

A Belfast teen who has suffered from arthritis since she was 11 will be featured on an extended episode of Countryfile as she walks around Co Antrim.

Zahra Baz (16) joined a ramble at the Giant's Causeway to help raise money for the BBC Children in Need charity last month.

She was joined by Countryfile presenter John Craven and 50 members of the public on the ramble, which will be aired on Sunday at 6pm.

Zahra was diagnosed with arthritis five years ago and for the past two years has been supported by Arthritis Care in Northern Ireland.

The organisation is receiving a grant of £79,151 over the course of three years from BBC Children in Need.

The grant money is for activities, trips and support for young people and children with arthritis in Northern Ireland.

Arthritis Care helps these young people develop friendships, build confidence and learn independence and optimism for their futures.

Zahra said the charity has given her opportunities to travel and meet new people and the activities they do have helped her develop self-esteem.

"Arthritis Care has helped me in incredible ways... the memories I have made with the people involved are irreplaceable," she said.

Zahra said that she loved the ramble around the Giant's Causeway on October 8 and can't wait to see how other children are helped by Children in Need across the UK.

"It was a great experience," she said. "I had a lot of fun and afterwards I wasn't as sore as I thought I might have been, which was a huge bonus.

"I'm so pleased to have done something to help other children and really hope the people of Belfast will help us fundraise for BBC Children in Need too."

This is the second year of the Countryfile Ramble for BBC Children in Need.

The extended episode on Sunday night will also feature four other presenters leading rambles around the UK alongside children who have been supported by projects funded by BBC Children in Need.

Presenter Matt Baker will be in the Eskdale Valley in the Lake District with Levana, a 15-year-old double amputee, who has been helped by Meningitis Now.

Host Anita Rani will take on Sugar Loaf Mountain in the Brecon Beacons with Olivia, a 15-year-old who has Down's syndrome and who has been helped by Cathays and Central Youth & Community Project in Cardiff.

Presenter Ellie Harrison will be joined by a group of young people from a Glasgow play project called the Jeely Piece Club to walk around Edinburgh's Holyrood Park.

Host Adam Henson will be in the Alice Holts Forest in Surrey with a Surrey family, the Shilstons, who were supported by the Princess Alice Hospice.

Last year the Countryfile Ramble for BBC Children in Need raised almost £1m.

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