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Call for Dorset’s Riders + Striders
Hundreds of volunteers from across Dorset are gearing up to pedal for their parish church in this year’s annual Ride + Stride for Churches, which takes place on Saturday 8th September.
The annual fundraising day, organised by Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT), invites participants to cycle, walk and or ride a horse to Dorset’s churches and chapels on Saturday 8th September between 10am – 6pm. Participants range in age and ability; anyone can join in, either as an individual or a pair trying to visit as many churches as possible, or a family enjoying a day out. Ride + Stride for Churches will take place in many counties all over the England as County Trusts hold similar events to raise much needed funds.
Riders and striders in Dorset will be raising money for the maintenance and repair of Dorset’s over 300 historic churches, with all sponsorship split between DHCT and nominated church or charity. There is no official route and participants seek sponsorship to visit as many as they feel able or for simply taking part.
A welcome in every church
Chairman of DHCT, Simon Pomeroy, said: “We are very much looking forward to our single fund-raising day and hope to see many people out and about enjoying the Dorset countryside, both those who are new to the event as well as our seasoned cyclists. Last year, we raised over £86,000 in sponsorship funds, supported by 175 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 we hope even more people and churches will take part this year. Let’s all get pedalling for our parishes. We will try to arrange a welcome and some refreshments in every church on 8th September!”
Dorset is filled with fascinating 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 over 300 churches across towns and villages, while stopping off at a local pub or and village green for lunch and a well-earned rest.
Riders are recommended to plan their routes to keep 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 team up for the day’s event or even compete against them! Pledges may be gathered on traditional paper forms or through Just Giving on the Trust’s website.
£1,000,000 raised since 1991
Since 1991, the Trust has raised over £1,000,000 from Ride + Stride for Churches. Fifty percent of the funds raised may be returned to the church or charity chosen by the rider. There is often keen competition to gain the most sponsorship and since 1999, the Trustees have awarded the Morshead Trophy to the parish whose efforts they consider to be the most deserving of recognition. Last year, the handsome trophy was awarded to St John, Seaborough, whose rider Steven Loveridge rode many miles and raised over £2,700 in sponsorship.