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Ride+Stride, 2020-style

by Michael Ford last modified 09 Oct, 2020 10:49 PM

When you say the words 'Ride and Stride' to a churchgoer, they think of all those who every year walk, cycle or horse ride to raise thousands of pounds for churches across our Diocese.

Ride+Stride, 2020-style

Shaftesbury's Jon Dakin

And this year, with the pandemic leaving churches struggling to balance their books, the 12th of September took on an even more significant challenge for those willing to take part.

The money raised from the Ride+Stride sponsorship is split evenly between the participants' own churches and the Dorset or Wiltshire Historic Churches Trusts.

And with both desperately needing funds, some of those taking part went to great lengths to inspire giving amgong their supporters. Long-distance runner Eric Jager took part on behalf of St James the Great Longburton, and covered an amazing 51 kms.

Participating for the first time, serious mountain biker Colin Taylor of Chickerell plotted a route around Weymouth area churches stretching from Portesham in the north to the Avalanche Church (St Andrew’s) on Portland. This demanding route took in 30 churches, covered just over 80 kms, including climbs of 1,372 meters, and was completed at an average speed of 12.9 kms per hour.

“It was a very smooth ride,” Mr Taylor commented. “I enjoyed the varied town, country and seaside locations, and had the pleasure of raising money for the Dorset Historic Churches Trust.”

St Mary's Lychett Matravers had a great day out, aiming for £80 and raising £215 from 10 supporters - 268% of their target! - and at St Peter’s Hinton St Mary, David Dunning completed a 44m cycle trip. He reported:

"I journeyed an hour`s cycle to Yeovil Pen Mill (visiting 5 churches) before catching the train to Dorchester, my intention being to return cycling mainly back up the Frome Valley (via Maiden Newton and other villages), there being no trains back on a Saturday till later in the day. At Chetnole I then struck off back for Sherborne across the Wriggle valley.

"Hence I did rather more miles than I intended, but slowly! I visited 10 more churches on this way back."

Ride+Stride, 2020-style- DHCT, Beaminster

All ages were involved in the Avon River Team - primary-aged Heidi and Poppy visited Figheldean, Netheravon and Fittleton, and Lottie Lou managed 11 churches between Charlton and Amesbury. Christopher and Josie Morgan visited 6 churches, including the 3 visited by Heidi and Poppy, as they travelled between Bulford and Enford.

Pen Mason posted in the Figheldean & Ablington Life Facebook group:

"Tim and I enjoyed doing the “Sponsored Cycle Ride” taking in 7 Churches from Enford to Durrington, clocking up 28 Ks. Very many thanks to all our very generous sponsors, in raising well over £300."

In Beaminster, the Revd Fiona Beale said:

"There are numerous individuals and families taking part all over the team. I am personally riding with a group of around 4 riders around the entire team – 15 Churches – in one day. So please give me a wave if I pass your house!"

The Benefice of St Bartholomew posted on Facebook:

"On a warm and sunny September Saturday, 3 separate groups set off round the benefice, by foot or by bike. The walkers met at St John's Charlton for a group photo. The longest route was over 12 miles, going from Charlton to Semley via Donhead St Mary, there and back to Sedgehill, then Donhead St Andrew before finishing back at Donhead St Mary."

Ride+Stride, 2020-style- Stephanie Williams and James Carey with their bikes outside St Mary’s Church in Marlborough- Photo Gerry Lynch
Stephanie Williams and James Carey- photo by Gerry Lynch

In Devizes, Stephanie Williams and James Carey rode 38 miles in visiting 15 churches around Wroughton, Ramsbury, Marlborough and nearby villages – their longest ride in some years.

Stephanie said:

“Our historic churches are important symbols of permanence for the community in these uncertain times where they have taken on an added poignancy.

“The weather was perfect – not too warm but nice and sunny. The high point was our break at The Blue Boar at Aldbourne which did an excellent pub lunch!”

Ride+Stride, 2020-style- The Revd Chris Burdon with his bike at All Saints’ Church in Marden- Photo by Gerry Lynch
The Revd Chris Burdon- photo by Gerry Lynch

The Revd Chris Burdon has already raised more than £400, with donations still coming in. He also enjoyed the excellent conditions as he biked around 17 churches in Devizes and the Vale of Pewsey, and said:

“Many of the Vale of Pewsey churches are ancient buildings serving parishes with tiny populations, so help with preservation is really important. I saw plenty of other bikes on the road too, and some welcome refreshment provided by volunteers at some of the churches.”

David and Carie Evans put on their walking boots to visit 10 churches in Devizes and nearby villages. David said:

“In a year like this one it was even more necessary than usual to raise money for churches that might be in financial difficulties. Getting the event held at all this year was a real triumph for the organisers.

“We walked out to Poulshot, then over the fields to Worton, and up the hill to Potterne before heading home.”

In the Shaftesbury area, Jon Dakin and Nigel Kay embarked on an epic 23-church tour, including the famously steep Gold Hill featured in the Hovis advert.

Ride+Stride, 2020-style- Ludgershall walking group
Ludgershall walking group

In Ludgershall, St James' Church posted on Facebook:

"We walked from St James’ over to St Andrew's Church, Collingbourne Ducis, with a stop for a cuppa on the way. Others rode their bikes! Lovely morning for it, and raised money for Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust and our church’s ministry. Thanks to all who donated and all who rode and strode!"

Diane Benjamin in Chideock said of their group:

"In the end only Richard left from St Giles in Chideock, as one of the Whitchurch riders developed a puncture. They joined forces in Charmouth and went on to complete a circuit of 18 churches, covering circa 35.5 miles and ascending in total a gradient of 4,711 feet! As much as that day's climb on the Tour De France, but they were just a little slower. They enjoyed the welcome and refreshments in Pilsdon and back at Whitchurch."

Ride+Stride, 2020-style- Amesbury's Ann May
Amesbury's Ann May

St Mary & St Melor Church Amesbury posted:

"A very big thank you from Ann and Jacqui to all who sponsored us on the Ride and Stride. We walked around Salisbury visiting 11 of the 12 C of E Churches - tiring but enjoyable. In total we raised £381 plus gift aid on much of this."

Red Post shared on Facebook:

"Many thanks to everyone who took part in the Dorset Historic Churches Ride and Stride fundraiser... Walkers from Zelston and cyclists from Bloxworth were all planning to visit some of our local churches for this annual charity event. From St Nicholas at Winterborne Kingston, Peter got on his bike and visited all the Red Post churches then headed up towards Blandford.

"Neal and his cycling companion Richard started and finished at St Nick’s and visited 15 churches on their 118km trek over the Purbecks, into Swanage, over to Poole on the chain ferry, then back towards RP territory (cheered on by Justin at Morden church).

"Peter and Neal between them have already received over £1000 of sponsorship and it’s still coming in! Please donate to this worthy cause to help all of our wonderful churches if you’ve not done so already. A huge thank you to everyone who supported this event in any way!"

Ride+Stride, 2020-style- Linda at St Andrew's West Stafford
A sign of the times: Linda at West Stafford

The Radipole team were also out, with the Revd Nick Clarke and his wife Cherry road biking on a circuit of 15 churches out of 22 in the Weymouth and Portland Deanery.

On the final leg, they posted:

"A beautiful day to be out in the countryside and in the town of Weymouth. The last 3 churches? St Francis, Littlemoor; St Nicholas, Broadwey and back to the home patch of St Aldhelms, Radipole. Thanks for supporting us, particularly to some folk at Fleet who gave us a tenner!"

View a Facebook slideshow here.

Team Vicar Stuart Cocksedge did a solo Ride+Stride a week later, posting:

"My belated ride for Ride & Stride! 41 miles, 16 churches, and some amazing views around the Isle of Purbeck. Thanks to everyone sponsoring us in Wareham."

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