Joining the cyclists, walkers and a 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom 2 at the launch of the 2023 Ride and Stride/Pedal & Drive at St Michael’s church, Woolverstone, were singers from Cantus Firmus inter-church choir. The launch was featured live on BBC Radio Suffolk with interviews by reporter Matt Marvel.
The day-long fundraising events will be held on Saturday 9th September and is for anyone who loves Suffolk and its historic churches, or is looking for a good excuse for a walk or bike ride, or take their vintage or classic car for a spin.
Organised by Suffolk Historic Churches Trust (SHCT), Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride, and Pedal & Drive is an annual event which sees several thousand cyclists and walkers of all ages, (and drivers of vintage and classic cars) taking part in the annual fundraising event for the repair and upkeep of Suffolk churches.
This year the Trust is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Cantus Firmus choir are also inviting singers to walk with them as part of Ride and Stride in September, as they walk from Coddenham to Ipswich, singing a short service at churches on the route. The Pilgrimage of Song, led by St Edmundsbury Cathedral & Ipswich Music Development Director Richard Hubbard, is part of the cathedral’s InHarmony Project. The services will be led by Rev’d Mary Sokanovic.
“2023 is a big year for the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, a 50th anniversary. Let’s make it a really big and fun day out on 9th September. Find a friend or two and “Get on your Bike”. Discover new parts of Suffolk and the beautiful churches that we are so lucky to have as part of our history,” said Simon Ronan, the Chairman of Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride .
Cyclists and walkers get sponsors or donations for their journey around some of Suffolk’s churches, choosing their own route, long or short. The money they raise help save this wonderful part of our history, with half going to the Trust to give out as grants for church buildings, and half to the participants chosen church. Hundreds of churches will be open to welcome participants on Saturday 9th September.
The Pilgrimage of Song starts with a workshop at St Mary’s Church, Coddenham Church, to learn the music which will be sung during the day. The group will walk to St Botolph’s Church, Whitton, singing services at Barham and Akenham, then ending the day with a hot meal.
“The music wide-ranging”, explained Richard Hubbard, leader of the Cantus Firmus choir. “There’ something to suit all levels of ability. We’d encourage singers who want to participate in Ride and Stride to make this their route. As well as registering with Ride and Stride, you’ll need to book a singing place at www.cantusfirmus.org.uk “
Also, on the same day, the Suffolk Churches vintage and classic car rally Pedal & Drive is held with the cars travelling a provided route, around a selection of churches, ending at Lavenham.
“We are proud that, over 50 years, we have raised & distributed over £10 million (in today’s money) for the upkeep of Suffolk’s glorious legacy of churches, and we are determined to make this year’s fundraiser bike ride on Saturday September 9th break all records. Help us by cycling, walking, welcoming the cyclists as a sitter in their church or by turning out in a beloved vintage or classic car, or by digging deep to sponsor one of the participants. Those wonderful church buildings which grace our communities & our landscape don’t look after themselves, so please help us help those who care for them,” said Trust Chairman and organiser of Pedal & Drive, Geoffrey Probert.
Sponsor forms for all participants are now available in Suffolk churches, and from the Trust website. Donations and sponsorship can also be collected via Just Giving.https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/suffolk-churches-ride-and-stride-2023
The annual ride, began in Suffolk in 1982 but has now spread across England, appeals to families, local history lovers, keen cyclists and walkers, church supporters and those who just enjoy an annual trip around the villages and towns of Suffolk.
A list of churches that are open, and a sponsor form, is available (click here) and from participating Suffolk churches. Cyclists and walkers can choose whichever churches they wish, and disability scooters are welcome too.
A photography competition for participants will also be held and details will be announced on this website nearer the time.