Entertainment & Arts

Race Across the World victors pledge winnings to help street children

Emon and Jamiul
Image caption Emon and Jamiul reached the finish - on a mountain summit - just 20 seconds ahead

The winners of the BBC's Race Across the World have pledged £10,000 to help the street children they came across as they travelled through South America.

On Sunday, viewers saw uncle and nephew Emon and Jamiul Choudhury win the 54-day race by just 20 seconds.

They pipped husband and wife Rob and Jen in a nailbiting finish.

Emon and Jamiul immediately promised half of the £20,000 prize to charities after seeing children sleeping rough in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

They have since also reportedly decided to give £5,000 to Emon's family orphanage in Bangladesh.

"We decided at Sao Paulo that if we were to win, we'd donate at least half of the money to help the kids of Sao Paulo and of Brazil," Emon told BBC Breakfast on Monday.

Image caption The five pairs of contestants set off from Mexico City on a 15,000-mile quest

"It just feels like the right thing to do. The trip itself was an amazing experience. You can't put a figure on the experience that we had, and we believe the money will go such a long way to help so many people in the areas that we visited."

Architecture graduate Jamiul added: "It was a life-changing experience. I don't think there's a price that could be put on everything that we experienced. I guess it shows you that there's a bigger world out there and it puts into perspective how minuscule we are in a wider world."

Emon, 35, from Bradford and Jamiul, 25, from Oldham, took part after reuniting 10 years after Emon left the family following his refusal to settle into an arranged marriage.

The 15,000-mile race took the contestants from Mexico City to the most southerly city in the world, Ushuaia in Argentina, with a budget of £1,400.

It came down to a frantic finale as the leading two pairs dumped their backpacks and scrambled to be first to reach the summit of a hill.

Sunday's episode was watched by an average of 3.3 million viewers on BBC Two.

The second series of the show was a hit with viewers and critics.

The BBC has been forced to halt production of a celebrity edition of the contest due to the coronavirus pandemic, but has opened applications for the next regular series, saying it will return "as soon as it is safe to do so".

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