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Parishioners to hit the road and help fill church coffers
HUNDREDS of cyclists and walkers are to travel between 520 Oxfordshire churches to raise money for charity.
The annual Ride and Stride, organised locally by Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust, will see more than 700 people take part to raise funds for churches on Saturday, September 14 by either walking or cycling.
Last year’s event reached £120,925, with the funds split between churches nominated by each participant and the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust.
Adderbury resident John Frost, 67, who has been taking part in the event for 20 years, said: “I’m feeling good about it but it gets harder for me every year.
“I think it’s important because it creates a better understanding of how these churches are maintained.”
He added that he would give the money he raises to St Mary’s Church in Adderbury, where he lives, and he hoped to raise about £500.
Charlotte Holmes, a member of the congregation at St Mary’s, said the Ride and Stride helped the church when it needed its roof repaired seven years ago.
She said: “We were trying to find £225,000 and the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust gave us a very generous grant from the event. We’ve been supporting it for years.”
The Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Rev Colin Fletcher, will also be taking part, and previous years have seen the Bishop of Oxford, Rt Rev John Pritchard, join hundreds of riders and striders.
Churches across the county will have forms for people to sign to record their progress on the day and some will have church members greeting the participants.
John Morrison, of the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust, who is helping organise the Ride and Stride, said he is feeling ‘confident’ about the amount of money that could be raised.
The 75-year old said: “It’s enormous fun – people go running in groups and local communities support each other. We had people riding horses last year and a family with a five-year-old riding a scooter, a two-and-a half-year-old on a skateboard and the smallest child bouncing on a space hopper.”
Up to 10 per cent of the costs for repair work for churches in the county is provided by the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust via the event.
Basil Eastwood, who works for the trust, said: “It is financially important and it’s a very good day out when the vast majority of churches (in the county) are on show.
“People really learn to appreciate them.”
To find out more about Ride and Stride or to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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