Supporters of Wiltshire’s churches turned out in greater numbers in 2017 than in the inclement weather of 2016: over 300 of them, mainly cyclists, but plenty of walkers, a couple of horse-riders, two mobility scooter riders from Melksham and a large number of exercise bikers from Hilperton. St. James, Bratton again set a fine example, fielding 46 participants and walking off with the Brooke Cup for the 7th year in succession. The Junior Cup (under 18s) was won this year by a small group from St Mary the Virgin, Grittleton. Congratulations to all, and thanks to those who opened and manned churches.
“Thank you all for your very kind donations, we reached our target of £200 and cycled 37 miles to 20 lovely churches through beautiful countryside. Glorious sunshine all day and a total soaking in the last 5 minutes.” A couple from Kington St. Michael.
“We made it to Chirton, Beechingstoke, Marden, Wilsford, Charlton, North Newnton, Rushall and Upavon. Not sure how far we walked, but it must have been more than 10 miles. It was a great walk, the weather was mostly kind (we got drenched just before Rushall) and we even got to see a wedding!” Two sisters from Chirton and Upavon.
The amount of sponsorship money raised was £45,000, half of which goes back to the participants’ chosen church. When Gift Aid is added the total should come to over £53,000, similar to the 2016 figure. Bratton and Salisbury Cathedral both raised over £2000, and a number of quite small churches, including St. Michael, Compton Chamberlayne, St George, Preshute and St Michael, Shalbourne, raised over £1000.
Some notable individual achievements:
– 42 churches were notched up by Adrian Johnson and Ian Wigmore form Great Somerford and John Davidson from the Dorcan Church, Swindon.
– Alan Abrams (aged 88) from Melksham cycled to 19 churches.
– 3 generations of striders from Bratton – Grandmother Cally Walters, her daughter Alice (9 months pregnant) and grandson William, aged 2 – walked round 6 churches in Devizes.
– Jillian Wright from Salisbury Cathedral raised £1055.
Many loyal supporters of Ride+Stride have been participating for a very long time. Two examples:
– Raymond Samways of Laverstock has completed 25 years, cycling and then walking. This year, aged 87, he walked to 15 churches around Salisbury, raising £422, which he reckons brings his total to over £11,000.
– Another long-standing supporter is Roger Hayward of Netheravon. He was unable to take part last year, suffering from a serious cancer. After a successful operation he was back on his bike this year, covering 50 miles and visiting 20 churches.
The Trust is hugely grateful for the commitment of such people. It seems a shame that so many church-goers are reluctant to join in what is an enjoyable and relatively painless way of raising money, both for their own church and to contribute to the vital work of the Trust.
The 2018 Ride & Stride is on Saturday 8th September; maybe readers of this who are PCC members could prompt your colleagues into action?