Wiltshire bishops complete county ride for Christian Aid *Updated

by Michael Ford last modified 16 Apr, 2013 03:58 PM

Bishops in Lycra and hi-vis jackets were a regular sighting around Wiltshire’s roads at the weekend as the Rt Revd Ed Condry and the Rt Revd Lee Rayfield completed a mammoth 172-mile bike ride in support of Christian Aid.

Wiltshire bishops complete county ride for Christian Aid *Updated

Bishop Ed and Bishop Lee in Salisbury

Click here for a gallery
UPDATE:
click here for a YouTube clip

There were more showers than sunshine but no damp spirits as hundreds of supporters gathered to support and sustain Bishop Ed (Bishop of Ramsbury) and Bishop Lee (Bishop of Swindon) on their pilgrimage around 16 county stop-offs.

After being waved off from County Hall at 8am on Friday morning they called in at Mothers' Union meetings, a Co-op branch, church lunches, Amesbury CE Primary School and even a pub before they were joined by other cyclists including Bradford-on-Avon mayor John Potter for the final stretch to Trowbridge arriving at 6.30pm on Saturday.

Among those supporting the duo en route was Salisbury and South Wilts MP John Glen, council leaders, clergy and school pupils as well as members of the public who gave welcome friendly waves as the bishops tackled rain and the county’s hills.

The bishops raised over £1,200 with £745 donated on-line so far and much more sponsorship from stop-off points still waiting to come in, including over £400 from supporter Judith Holland who cycled the last leg with the bishops.

Bishop Ed (59) and Bishop Lee (57), both strong supporters of Christian Aid and keen cyclists, enjoyed the challenge of bringing both passions together.

Bishop Lee, a member of Swindon Road Club who broke his collar bone in a fall in a cycle race outside Salisbury last year, led prayers for those living in poverty at each stop.

He said: “We have been fed with wonderful food on our journey but it’s vital that we remember that one in eight people go to bed hungry each night and do what we can to ensure the world is a fairer place.

“It’s been amazing to see such large numbers of Christian Aid supporters across such a range of different contexts and all of them are passionate, committed people with a sense of humour as well as a sense of justice – what a brilliant combination!”

Bishop Ed is no stranger to riding bikes for Christian Aid. Twenty-five years ago he and his wife Sarah cycled 200 miles on a tandem to raise money for the charity and the teamwork continues with Ed distributing the iconic Christian Aid Week envelopes each year and Sarah collecting them.

Ed said: “The ride went brilliantly. We had a fantastic welcome wherever we went, including a real rock star welcome at Amesbury Primary School where 200 or so children greeted us with flags – that doesn’t happen every day!

“It was a real privilege to meet the Christian Aid supporters who work so hard and to see so much of this beautiful county at the same time.

“The final 40 miles were tough when the wind and the rain were against but it was soon forgotten once we arrived in Trowbridge. I don’t think it will be too long before I’m starting to think about what my next challenge for Christian Aid might be.”

Christian Aid’s regional coordinator for Wiltshire Katrine Musgrave said: “It was humbling to see how much effort Ed and Lee put into the ride - it can’t be underestimated just how much of a challenge it was!

“We are much indebted to them, not only for the funds they have raised, but also for raising the profile of Christian Aid and the work it does to help the world’s poorest communities and tackle the causes of poverty.

“We hope the ride will inspire people to take part in Christian Aid Week (May12-18) and to call for fairer terms for the world’s poor ahead of the G8 meeting in the UK in June. This year we have a real opportunity to start the process towards being the generation that ended hunger.”

The bishops can still be sponsored online via www.justgiving.com/bishopsonbicycles. Events already planned for Christian Aid Week include a breakfast in Purton for up to 100 people and a giant lunch in Trowbridge for 200.

Notes
The full route included Trowbridge, Warminster, Mere, Salisbury, Amesbury, Pewsey, Devizes, Marlborough, Wootton Bassett, Swindon, Highworth, Cricklade, Malmesbury, Great Somerford, Chippenham, Melksham, Bradford-on-Avon and Trowbridge. There was Twitter coverage via #bishopsonbikes.

Links
Christian Aid
Bishop of Ramsbury
Bishop of Swindon
YouTube footage (6min 7sec)
Website gallery
Flickr Gallery  

Further information
Contact Emma Nutbrown: 07500 060770, enutbrown@christian-aid.org
Follow Christian Aid West (Wiltshire, Somerset, Bristol and Gloucestershire) on Twitter @CAidWest or on Facebook www.facebook.com/ChristianAidWest

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