On Saturday 10th September the annual Suffolk Historic Churches Trust’s annual fundraiser was held and cyclists, walkers and drivers journeyed around Suffolk’s churches.
“As the Royal Patron of the National Churches Trust since 1953 we know our work was close to HM the Queen’s heart,” said Geoffrey Probert, Chairman of Suffolk Historic Churches Trust. “We decided to go ahead with our plans and asked those taking part to remember her on their journey, to reflect upon her life of service, to say a prayer for her soul in every church they visit and to sign any Book of Condolences they find.”
Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride event has sponsored walkers and cyclists who choose their route, as long or as short as they wish. For the sister event, Pedal and Drive, vintage and classic cars are given a set route around six churches, leaving from five country houses, finally meeting up in Lavenham.
Over 100 cars took part, some with black ribbons attached, while Ride and Stride was supported by several thousand cyclists, walkers and volunteers in churches and chapels. All denominations took part and many of those participating are not members of church congregations but wish to help preserve the historic religious buildings in their community.
In the Felixstowe area a group of cyclists from Levington church, included two who are living in the area from war-torn Ukraine who rode, draped in their country’s flag.
In Bury St Edmunds, Rosie from Whepstead Methodist Church, who had intended to ride her bicycle as part of Ride and Stride, took to a rickshaw after she broke her leg. Peddled by family friend Sharon Steed, younger brother Hadley had the job of running onto churches to get their sponsor form signed.
Several of the cars from Pedal and Drive found they met up with cyclists on their journey.
A rota of volunteers ensured those arriving at churches, chapels and Meeting Houses were greeted as their sponsor forms were signed
Last year, the one-day event raised over £110,000.
Participants in Ride and Stride can nominate the church they wish half of their sponsor money to go to. The remainder is given in grants for church buildings, throughout the year, by Suffolk Historic Churches Trust. The final figure for money raised this year will be known later in the year, when all the sponsor money is collected.
Next year the Suffolk Churches fundraising day will be on Saturday 9th September.