More Success for Ride+Stride

by Gerry Lynch last modified 22 Jan, 2015 06:31 PM

Walkers and cyclists across two counties raise six figure sum for historic churches.

More Success for Ride+Stride

The Revd Joe Edwards Blandford Parish Church cycled 280 miles in just over 24 hours as part of Action Challenge’s London to Paris event

The Historic Churches Trusts in Dorset and Wiltshire are celebrating increased fundraising through the most recent Ride+Stride day - with Dorset Historic Churches Trust even claiming an all time record.

Dorset raised £79,000 during its annual fundraising Ride+Stride event in September - £3,000 more than last year’s amount. 

Wiltshire, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the county’s involvement in Ride and Stride, raised over £49000 on the day. Once Gift Aid is added, this should reach over £58000, a 10% increase on 2013.

In Wiltshire 267 cyclists, 79 walkers, 1 runner, 7 horse-riders and a few dogs, representing 125 churches, hit the county's roads and bridleways. Conditions were overcast but dry, although there were concerns about rain at some points in the day. There was one exception: the Broad Town exercise bikers hadn’t needed to check the forecast! 

Bishop Edward and his wife were spotted on their bikes in the Wylye Valley, and a large contingent of Enford cyclists was seen heading for lunch in the pub, having invaded seven churches in the Avon Valley. Many have commented that it was an enjoyable day, and it was successful financially too. 

BRide+Stride Enford team at Fittleton 2014oth Ride+Stride novices and experienced fundraisers took part in this year’s event, helping to raise the impressive sum. One participant, Richard Campbell from St Osmund’s Church in Evershot, Dorset, visited seven churches and raised £2,400. Despite a disability that means he has to ride a tricycle rather than a traditional bicycle, Richard covered 10 miles – double his target.

Two Wiltshire participants also hit the £2,400 mark: a 72-year-old cyclist from Mildenhall who clocked up 30 churches, and an 80-year-old walker from Chicksgrove who strode to 8 churches.  

Back in Dorset, four parishioners from St Andrew’s Church in West Chelborough, with an average age well over 70, walked all the way to The Fox’s Inn in Corscombe to raise money for the Trust. Meanwhile, 11 children from St Peter’s Church in Pimperne raised £417 by walking, cycling, toddling or being pushed in a pushchair for two miles, returning to the church afterwards to receive a certificate for their efforts! 

A group of 21 parishioners from St Giles’ Church in Hooke, aged between 7 and 67 years old, walked, rode and cycled 10 miles to raise over £1,000, while Alan Neades from St Mary the Virgin’s Church in Piddlehinton visited a remarkable 42 churches and raised £700. 

The Revd Joe Edwards from St Mary’s Church in Blandford pulled out all the stops for the Trust, as he cycled 280 miles in just over 24 hours as part of Action Challenge’s London to Paris 24 event. Joe cycled six times a week in preparation for the trip, covering distances of 200 and 300 miles at weekends to ensure he was ready for the challenge. 

In Wiltshire, both the Brooke Cups were won yet again by St. James the Great, Bratton who mobilised 59 riders and striders. Runners-up were Tisbury and Lydiard Tregoze in the Senior Cup and Garsdon in the Junior.  Impressive sums were also raised by Colerne, Dinton (a one-man band), Mildenhall (ditto), St. Mary’s Marlborough, Preshute, Royal Wootton Bassett, Rushall, Sandy Lane, Shalbourne, Wilton and Wootton Rivers.  It could be said that the smaller rural parishes have outshone the larger urban ones – a challenge for next year. 

Ride+Stride is the main source of income for both the Dorset and Wiltshire Historic Churches Trusts and their counterparts across the country. In Dorset alone, the event involves some 200 parish and church communities across the County. Money raised during the event helps fund vital repairs, maintenance and restoration work at Dorset’s churches. 

SRide+Stride St Giles Church Hooke 2014imon Pomeroy, Chairman of Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT), commented: “We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in this year’s Ride+Stride event. We are thrilled with the amount raised, which will allow us to continue helping to preserve beautiful churches for future generations to enjoy. The repair works we help fund are often desperately needed and we rely on fundraising activities to make our work possible. Ride+Stride is our biggest fundraiser of the year.” 

Our wonderful churches matter. They are not just “historic landmarks”, but thin places where people feel the barrier between themselves and God, earth and heaven, begin to crumble. In our secularised era, they are more important than ever, reminding people there is a deeper reality beyond the world of pressing deadlines, endless noise and advertisements tempting us with instant gratification. Can yet more money be raised to ensure our churches remain a living witness to the Risen Lord?

With your help, undoubtedly! In this an age of League Tables, both our counties came in the Top 10 of 35 that take part. However, the top county, Suffolk, raised well over £100,000, despite a smaller population than either Dorset or Wiltshire: albeit with the advantage of having far fewer steep inclines! 

Why not contact your county historic trust to find out how you can raise money and enjoy our glorious Wessex countryside at the same time? Pencil in Saturday 12 September for Ride+Stride 2015!

Middle photo: The Enford team at Fittleton. Photo by Charles Graham.

Bottom photo: St Giles Church Hooke, near Beaminster: 21 set out: most made it to the end... Photo courtesy Andrew Boggis

Read More

The national Ride+Stride website.

Dorset Historic Churches Trust.

Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust.

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