One event that we can all help make a success is the annual Ride+Stride organised by the Dorset and Wiltshire Historic Churches Trusts each September. If you take part, your church receives 50% of your fundraising, and the rest goes to DHCT or WHCT, who give it back out in grants to support building projects. It's a win-win!
Ride + Stride took place this year on 9 September 2023
Check out stories and photos from around the diocese from this year's Ride + Stride!
Take a look at this story from last year:
Maximum churches, maximum apple cake!
Anna met up with Winterborne Houghton Ride+Strider, John Close, to get tips ahead of this year’s event on Saturday 9th September. Here’s what he told her.
“I’ve been taking part in Ride+Stride for probably 11 years now. I have always been a keen cyclist, riding eight miles to work and back every day in my younger days, even in gales and snow. I like a challenge!
The first year I set off on my own and then completed rides with friends Wilma and Ian, but for the last six years I’ve been riding with Richard, my next-door neighbour. We make a whole day of it, setting off around 8.30am and getting home at 6.30pm. The most churches we’ve visited is 40 (72 miles), but these days our favourite route takes in around 35 churches (60 miles). We stop at every church and sign the register to prove we visited – around half of the churches we visit are manned. On one occasion I even managed to take part in bell ringing at Stourpaine with a group of friends who were combining ringing with Ride and Stride.
We’re usually lucky with the weather; only one year did we have a downpour, but we sat under a thick Cypress tree just outside the churchyard at Tarrant Gunville, ate our sandwiches and didn’t feel a drop of rain. We take provisions with us, to keep us going, but we’re also sure to stop at the churches where they are offering tea and cake. We have worked out the route that takes in the maximum number of churches and the maximum amount of apple cake!
Over the last ten years we’ve raised over £5,000 through Ride+Stride sponsorship, thanks to the generosity of our friends in Winterborne Houghton and neighbouring villages. The money raised has been split equally between Dorset Historic Churches Trust, and my church, St Andrews. On top of that St Andrew’s has received a generous grant from DHCT to help with electrical rewiring.
It’s a great event for anyone to join, whether you cycle to lots of churches like we do, or just walk from one to another in a benefice. One year our vicar took part on horseback, and you could see the hoof marks up to the church doors!
My advice to a first-timer?
Plan ahead with an Ordnance Survey or online map, take a puncture repair kit – and most importantly – start gently, it’s not a race!