With just over two weeks to go, hundreds of volunteers from across Dorset are gearing up to pedal for their parish church at this year’s annual Ride+Stride event, which takes place on Saturday 9 September.
The annual fundraising day, organised locally by Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT), invites participants to cycle, walk and even ride a horse to Dorset’s churches and chapels on the day, between the hours of 10am and 6pm. This family day out is perfect for all ages and will be celebrated all over the United Kingdom, where DHCT’s affiliated County Trusts will be holding similar events to raise much-needed funds.
There is no official route and participants seek sponsorship to visit as many as they feel able to, or for simply taking part. Riders and striders will be raising money for the maintenance and repair of Dorset’s historic churches, with all sponsorship split between DHCT and their nominated church.
Chairman of DHCT, Simon Pomeroy, said, “We are very much looking forward to this year’s event and hope to see many people out and about enjoying the Dorset countryside on the day, both those who are new to the event as well as our seasoned cyclists. Last year, we raised over £81,000 in sponsorship funds, with 200 churches taking part.
“Without the vital support of the community, we couldn’t continue the work we do to help preserve the county’s churches and, this year, we hope even more people will take part. We’ll all be pedalling for our parish and can’t wait to welcome everyone on 9 September.”
Dorset is filled with spectacular church heritage and the event presents an opportunity for all the family to explore the history and architecture of churches, some of which are not regularly open. Riders and striders can make their way around more than 300 churches across towns and villages, while stopping off at the local pubs and village greens for a late summer’s lunch and well-earned rest.
Experienced riders will plot their route to keep well off the busy main roads and all participants will be able use the Ride+Stride page on the Trust’s website www.dhct.org.uk to check the map locations of every church.
Riders and striders who have taken part in previous years will be looking out for fellow fundraisers to join together for the day’s event, catch up or even compete against them.
Since 1991, the Trust has raised over £1,000,000 from the Ride+Stride event, formerly known as the Great Cycle Ride. Fifty percent of the funds raised are returned to the parish chosen by the rider, and there is keen competition to gain the most sponsorship. The Trustees award the Morshead Trophy to the parish which they consider to be the most deserving. Last year, the prestigious trophy was awarded to Richard Benjamin for raising £1,530 on behalf of St Giles’ and a further £300 from the Chideock Martyrs Roman Catholic church.
For more information about the Ride+Stride or to join in the fun, please contact Anna Butler, Ride+Stride coordinator, on 01305 260004, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the DHCT website at www.dhct.org.uk.
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