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Gallant soldier, 98, joins Ride+Stride on mobility scooter
Colonel Michael Elcomb, aged 98, joined thousands of people raising money to safeguard England’s historic churches when he took part in ‘Ride+Stride for Churches’ on Saturday 14 September 2019.
Colonel Michael Elcomb did his bit by riding on his mobility scooter to raise funds for his local church of St Mary in Codford, near Warminster, Wiltshire. As an Officer in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, he saw action during the Second World War in Malta, Sicily and Germany and in North Africa, where he was wounded.
His single trip from his home to the church was conducted in the customary, elegant style with left turns being indicated using his right arm and the traditional hand-rotating motion. Before he set off he already had over £1,000 pledged in sponsorship money. Nationally, over £1 million is expected to have been raised,
Colonel Michael Elcomb said:
“Churches are such important historic buildings and do so much to keep communities together. That’s why we must keep them in good repair. Well done to the many people around the country who took part in ‘Ride+Stride for Churches’ raising funds to keep England’s churches in shipshape condition.”
St Mary’s church
St Mary’s church in Codford has survived for 750 years and now provides a comfortable and comforting place to worship regularly, and more occasionally in which to marry, to be baptised, to be buried and also to celebrate music, melody, verse, oratory and the provision of a forum for a multitude of other festivities and functions.
Adjacent to the church is an ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) graveyard in Church Lane. It is the final resting place of 66 New Zealanders and 31 Australians from World War 1.
National ‘Ride + Stride for Churches’ chairman Hilary Cakebread Hall:
“Churches are so important spiritually and aesthetically, and they are the setting for some of the most important events in all of our lives – baptisms, weddings and funerals.”
“They are also increasingly becoming a focus for the wider community, and ‘Ride + Stride for Churches’ helps them do this by keeping them in good repair and funding kitchens and heating that make them available to the public for events every day of the week, not just for Sunday services.”
‘Ride+Stride for Churches’ started in Suffolk in 1981 as a sponsored bike ride but quickly became a national event. It is organised locally by county church trusts with national support provided by the National Churches Trust.
- Photograph of Colonel Elcomb and of the church of St Mary are attached, together with an event photo showing him with the Reverend Clifford Stride.
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