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Riding to the Rescue of Historic Churches

by glynch — last modified 05 Aug, 2021 01:21 PM

Ride+Stride raises nearly £140k for local historic churches in 2017 - plan now for this year’s event

A whopping £139,000 was raised to secure historic churches in Dorset and Wiltshire during last year’s Ride+Stride event, and many people are already making plans for this year’s event on 8 September 2018.

Ride+Stride is the main source of income for county Historic Churches Trusts across the country. They help save historic churches for future generations not only by helping to fund urgent repairs but also the installation of modern facilities. 

This year, Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT) is celebrating after raising a record £86,000, while Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust (WHCT) raised a further £53,000. 

Ride+Stride 2017 promo 3b.jpgMore than 170 parish and church supported Dorset’s effort, while Wiltshire saw over 300 people hit the roads: these included not only cyclists and walkers, but a couple of horse-riders and two mobility scooter riders from Melksham. 

Hilperton’s team clocked up their mileage in a static manner with a large team of exercise bikers! 

Simon Pomeroy, Chairman of DHCT, commented: “We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part. We are thrilled with the amount raised, which will allow us to continue helping to preserve beautiful churches across Dorset for future generations to enjoy. The Trust returns 50% of the funds raised by each participating parish to help it with fabric repair and maintenance. We aim to donate £100,000 per year towards church restoration and improvement and the funds raised from Ride + Stride will make that possible once again.” 

“We made it to Chirton, Beechingstoke, Marden, Wilsford, Charlton, North Newnton, Rushall and Upavon. Not sure how far we walked, but it must have been more than 10 miles”, said two sisters from Chirton and Upavon, “It was a great walk, the weather was mostly kind (we got drenched just before Rushall) and we even got to see a wedding!”  

WHCT runs a prizes programme for those taking part. St. James, Bratton again set a fine example, fielding 46 participants and walking off with the Brooke Cup for the 7th year in succession.  The Junior Cup (under 18s) was won this year by a small group from St Mary the Virgin, Grittleton. Bratton and Salisbury Cathedral both raised over £2000, and a number of quite small churches, including St. Michael, Compton Chamberlayne, St George, Preshute and St Michael, Shalbourne, raised over £1000. Jillian Wright from Salisbury Cathedral raised £1055. 

Ride+Stride 2017 promo 4.jpgAge was no barrier to participation. Alan Abrams, aged 88, from Melksham cycled to 19 churches, while three generations of striders from Bratton – grandmother Cally Walters, her daughter Alice (9 months pregnant) and grandson William, aged 2 – walked round six churches in Devizes. 

Raymond Samways of Laverstock, interviewed for the Diocesan website several years ago, has now completed 25 years, cycling and then walking.  This year, aged 87, he walked to 15 churches around Salisbury, raising £422, which he reckons brings his total to over £11,000. 

Another long-standing supporter is Roger Hayward of Netheravon.  He was unable to take part last year, suffering from a serious cancer.  After a successful operation he was back on his bike this year, covering 50 miles and visiting 20 churches.

One church benefiting from the hard work of Ride+Stride participants and the generosity of the historic churches trusts is St John the Baptist, in Bere Regis. It is currently undergoing vital repairs to its roof, which are partly funded by a grant from DHCT. St John’s rider Bob Croom covered over 40 miles and helped raise £490 in sponsorship. 

[uploaded 20 Feb 2018]Canon Charles Masheder, Vicar of St John’s, said: “We are very grateful for the £10,000 kindly donated by Dorset Historic Churches Trust to help protect our unique 15th century roof and its treasured carved apostles. We believe that a church that is warm and dry offers a welcome to our parishioners and visitors alike”. 

This year’s Ride+Stride event takes place on Saturday 8 September 2018. If you’ve never taken part before, remember half of all sponsorship raised goes back to the participants’ chosen church

For more information, visit or the websites of the county historic churches trusts in Dorset, Wiltshire or Hampshire.

Can you help Ride+Stride in Wiltshire? After many years’ service, Charles Graham is stepping down as Ride+Stride Organiser for Wiltshire. If you could help with a role that helps people get out and about in the county, please contact him on .

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