Our Diocesan Secretary, David Pain, was among the many to strap on their helmets, pull on their cycling jerseys, and take up the annual Ride and Stride challenge across the diocese on Saturday 10 September.
The fundraising event is to support the many historic churches in the Diocese of Salisbury, and to provide funding for the upkeep and restoration of our historic church buildings.
In light of recent events, The Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust who organises the fundraising event, and who are supported by the National Churches Trust, announced:
“Following the sad news of the death of Her Majesty, it has been decided that the annual Ride + Stride fundraising event should go ahead. It is likely that over the next few days many people in our communities will go to their local church for a time of thanksgiving and prayer”.
The aim of the day is to visit as many historic churches as possible, with complimentary refreshments provided by the local church along the way.
We followed David’s journey, on Twitter:
His day began early, and his spirits were high as he looked forward to a day of historic Wiltshire churches, prayer, and reflection. The weather looked fine and the roads were clear, except for the occasional tractor and fellow cyclist enjoying the beautiful Wiltshire countryside.
It didn’t take long for him to reach his first stop - St Mary’s Church, Bradenstoke. The well-kept grounds provide a sense of the old merging with the new, as its ancient limestone brick merged seamlessly with the pristine all-glass stable doors that mark the entrance of the building.
With no time to waste, David was quickly back on the road as he steadily made his way along rolling hills and endless fields towards the Vale of Pewsey, and the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin. This church of “uncommon size and nobility”, is Grade 1 listed and originated between the 12th and 13th centuries. Perhaps the most wondrous part of the building is its towering steeple which was added to the church in the 15th century.
Next up was St. Michael and All Angels, Urchfont. The earliest part of St. Michaels dates back to 1220 and features an ancient (bricked off) burial crypt under its chancel.
But, with only so much time to soak in the history of the building (and even less time for a much-appreciated lunch break), it wasn’t long before David was back on the saddle and racing towards his next stop, St Mary’s Church, Potterne.
Upon arrival, the 13th century cruciform church stood out proudly amongst the country village that surrounds it. A grand building amongst the trees, fields, and cottages of Potterne.
After a moment's quiet reflection in St Mary’s peaceful halls, David’s journey continued on to the final stage - Melksham, a riverside town with a history dating all the way back to the early Iron Age. There, he was greeted with a buzz of activity, and a warm welcome by the church host.
Whilst fun and educational, this journey of historical churches is much more than just a good time; it’s a powerful opportunity to raise funds and awareness to support the upkeep of our vital cultural and religious heritage.
If you’d like to find out more about this important fundraising campaign, find the Ride & Stride campaign here: https://www.dhct.org.uk/m/ride_and_stride.php
Or read our previous posts about the event, here: https://bit.ly/3QGa7aL