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Striding Through the Rain

by glynch — last modified 16 Feb, 2017 10:14 AM

Despite torrential rain, Ride+Stride raises over £100k across Dorset and Wilts

Striding Through the Rain

Ride+Striders endure torrential rain at the Lulworths

The clouds poured down water (Psalm 77:17)”, starts the report from the Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust on Ride+Stride 2016, “They did indeed … However a great deal of determination was shown by those who did brave the weather”. 

It certainly was, with nearly 300 church communities across both counties taking part. Wiltshire riders and striders raised a total of £52,000. In Dorset, a whopping £80,000 was raised.

While churches in our diocese can be rightly proud of raising the bulk of this, credit should also be given to parishes in the Dioceses of Bristol and Winchester and churches of other Christian denominations which took part. 

Bright spirits, wet weather

Alan Neades from Piddlehinton, took part in his sixth Ride+Stride and commented; “My ‘breathable’ waterproof cycling jacket did its job, my shoes had become waterlogged before I reached my first church and everywhere I came across standing water which meant passing cars provided me with an impromptu shower. Nevertheless a great event, I visited 40 churches and covered a fantastic 70 miles. I am sure the hills get steeper every year!” 

Cycling centenaries 

RS16 Brindle Too.pngOne participant who was well and truly soaked by the end of his route was the Rev’d Keith Brindle cycled from the most northern church in the Diocese (St. Bartholomew’s, Royal Wootton Bassett) to the southernmost (St. Andrew’s, Portland), via St James, Southbroom in Devizes, where he is rector, and the Cathedral – a total of 106.6 miles.  He raised £1377. 

Henry Stevenson, of St Michael & All Angels, Hilperton, also cycled more than 100 miles and certainly gets the prize for the most rain-sodden sponsorship form.  Others from his church opted to stay in the dry and covered 162 miles on exercise bikes.

Schools participation

RS 16 Blandford St Mary.jpgParticipants were of all ages, and included newcomers and old hands. A joint project between St Mary’s Church, Gillingham and its local Primary School saw eighteen DHCT supporters take a gentle walk along the River Lodden – the youngest Rider + Strider being only three years old! Gillingham’s Pioneer Minister, the Revd Eve Pegler, who developed this plan in partnership with the Primary School.

For the second year, Lulworth and Winfrith Primary School staged a school walk with the older children starting from Dagger’s Gate and the younger ones walking from Winfrith to Chaldon. Their efforts raised £160.A further £1,606 that was raised for St Christopher’s church Winfrith by veteran cyclist Julian Cherryson while Lesley and Shaun Burt, who walked from their home to all four churches, collected £303 for Holy Trinity, West Lulworth. DHCT Trustee Jeremy Selfe raised nearly £300 for St Nicholas’ and £140 for St Andrew’s churches for a grand total by the Benefice of over £2500. 

RS16 Royal Wootton Bassett.jpgCommendable efforts 

Other notable participations included the following. 

In Devizes, Liz Overthrow, Secretary of Wiltshire Churches Together, led a pilgrimage round all ten churches in the town, stopping at each one to give a brief history and to say a prayer. (Read our news story of the pilgrimage here.) 

Filled with fresh coffee and cake from the community Mud Pie Cafe in Okeford Fitzpaine, 13 hardy cyclists from across the UK cycled from St Andrew’s to Shillingstone, then to the Trailway to St Mary's in Sturminster Newton. East and West Orchards followed before Shroton, where the cyclists were inspired by the internal improvements which had partly been funded by DHCT. A fantastic 28 miles were clocked, 10 churches visited, 380 metres climbed and 5 hours riding with all Riders + Striders still smiling.  

RS16 Unicycle.jpgMartin Hoad, of Christ Church, Shaw, rode 19.5 miles on his unicycle, visiting 4 churches. 

Eight participants started at Hooke, with ages ranging from 12 to 60, they covered 11 miles, visited four churches, climbed many hills and raised a fantastic £320. 

Richard Aylen, of Christ Church, Derry Hill, did a “Ride+Morris”, cycling to Calne and Avebury and performing there with his Morris Dancing team.

12-year-old Joe Cooke cycled to 39 churches with his father, in aid of Christ Church, Warminster.

RS16 Salisbury Cath.JPGRoger Simpkins and Astrid Laurence visited 24 churches on a tandem, and with 9 others from St. Bartholomew’s, Royal Wootton Bassett, raised a magnificent £2110.

Another Prize for Bratton

In Wiltshire, which has a range of keenly contested prizes for participating individuals and churches, St. James, Bratton not only won the Brooke Cup for the sixth year in succession but also regained the Junior Group Cup which they lost in 2015.

They fielded 29 walkers and 13 cyclists, and they get not only the cups, but an extra £600 to add to the £1766 they raised from sponsorship.  Their churchwarden has magnanimously offered to provide a simple guide for other parishes, to show that with a modest amount of effort a great deal can be achieved.  Who will take up the challenge for 2017?


RS16 Lytchett Matraves.jpgSimon Pomeroy, Chairman of Dorset Historic Churches Trust, 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 across Dorset for future generations to enjoy. We aim to donate £100,000 towards church restoration and improvement and this year’s Ride + Stride will make that possible once again.”

On behalf of Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust, stalwart Ride+Stride organiser Charles Graham said, “The Trust is grateful for support from the Diocesan Communications Offices, the National Churches Trust and Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, who donated the cups and continues to contribute prize money.” 

Now it’s your turn

RS16 Hinton St Mary.jpgWhy not put the date for this year’s Ride+Stride – 9 September 2017 – in your diaries now. What a wonderful chance for families and friends, young and old, to explore our wonderful townscapes and countryside. You will not just help secure the future of the wonderful churches we have inherited in this part of the country, but you will get to see them up close. 

The Trusts return 50% of the funds raised by each participating parish to help it with fabric repair and maintenance. 

For more information on Ride+Stride 2017 visit the Historic Churches Trust websites for Wiltshire here and Dorset here. 

The national Ride+Stride website is at

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