News and Events

Ride and Stride and Pedal and Drive 2020 are ON!

small-rs-map-on-bike-1On the second Saturday of September each year, cyclists and walkers set out across Suffolk on a sponsored journey from church to church raising money for the fabric of our churches and chapels – with the proceeds shared equally between the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust for future grant giving and the participant’s chosen church. The Trust plan that Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride 2020 will go ahead on the customary date – adapting, as necessary, for whatever Covid 19 guidelines advise on the day.

Everyone taking part can choose their own route and visit as many or as few churches as they wish, on foot, bike or mobility scooter. Even though it may feel a bit different this year, and may possibly be a smaller event than normal, the Trust has decided to go ahead with this year’s Ride and Stride, as well as its sister event, Pedal and Drive for vintage and classic cars.

“In view of the importance to the work of the Trust of our main fund raising event, we are doing all we can to ensure the event goes ahead on the 12th September,” explained Patrick Grieve, the Chairman of Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride. “Churches and chapels are now open for services provided social distancing is observed and Government guidelines for sensible health precautions followed. Not all churches may be open for Ride and Stride on Saturday 12th September, and there may be no one to welcome or sign you in, but two or three people cycling together in the Suffolk countryside or walking in our towns should be perfectly safe, Never before has there been a greater need for support for our places of worship.”

Churches that usually offer refreshments may decide not to do so this year and, if a church is not manned, riders and walkers will log the name of the church themselves. “Since most people are sponsored per event rather than per church this shouldn’t be a problem, and sponsorship can also be collected via JustGiving,” Patrick continued. “Many more people are walking and cycling since the lockdown, so this event will give them an ideal focus for their efforts! It is a free event and we just ask for you to get sponsored by your friends and family.”

“There has never been a more important time for our church finances,” added Trust chairman, Geoffrey Probert. “Fundraising to repair these beautiful Suffolk churches has been halted because of Covid and this is a way to help them. Indeed, we hope that those supporters who do feel comfortable taking to their bikes will make every effort to get extra sponsorship this year.”

Sponsor forms are now available and cyclists and walkers can start deciding their route, ready for the event on Saturday 12 September.

With the cancellation of the Goodwood Rally this year, owners of vintage and classic cars in Suffolk will also welcome the opportunity to join in Pedal and Drive on the same day.

“The format will be much as last year with each driver allocated one of half a dozen historic houses to assemble at before making their way across Suffolk, stopping at a few churches to answer their quiz questions, en route to meeting together on the Upper Green at Long Melford. Again, we will follow whatever Government guidelines are for sensible health precautions, come September”.

Car owners need to fill in an entry form available on this website.

“Last year Ride and Stride, and the sister Pedal & Drive Car Rally, raised £137,000 in one day,” remembered Patrick Grieve. “Throughout the year we give grants to help with the restoration, repair and to improve facilities, in churches and chapels. It is often the only community building available for local people to use for events, as well as church services. Grants have continued to be given, even in the lockdown.”

The organisers will be following Government guidelines. “If the Covid situation was to deteriorate to the extent that it became unwise to go ahead, we will not hesitate to cancel and get the word out there. If you are uncertain whether the event is still going ahead please check on social media or this website,” said Geoffrey Probert. “But we very much hope it will be full steam ahead. Finally I would like to record my gratitude to all those who work to organize the day and to all those intrepid bicyclists, walkers and car drivers who turn out on the day to raise money for the good cause”.

For more details of how to take part in Ride and Stride contact the Local Organiser in your area via your local church, or via this website.


Concert Postponed

Sadly, the planned concert by Yalda Davis has been postponed.

By the way, because of Covid 19, she hasn’t quite completed her challenge of playing in every Suffolk church yet. She has now played her cello in 425 churches- an amazing total! There are a maximum of 75 left for her to play in. We will let you know when she has completed her mammoth task and can schedule her final concert.

Latest grants awarded to Suffolk churches

Eight grants totalling £19,000 have recently been awarded to seven churches and one meeting house. Hacheston, Walberswick, Bromeswell, Fornham St Martin, for repairs to the fabric. Swilland and Crowfield towards modern facilities. Ilketshall St Margaret towards electrical work. Bury St Edmunds Unitarian Meeting House towards replacement of heating boiler.

Crowfield church.
Crowfield church

Events for 2020

Winter Study Day was held on Saturday, 1 February 2020 at Haughley Park.  In a packed Barn, the theme was the Abbey of St Edmunds.  Speakers included historian Clive Paine on the mysterious St Edmund, Dr Richard Hoggart on “Bury St Edmunds:  The Abbey and Antiquities” and Howard Stephens on the Bury St Edmunds Cross.

Spring Field Day….May – details to be announced

Annual Service….July – Details to be announced


Launch image for website
Launching this year’s Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride at St Edmund’s church, Southwold. (L-R: Rev. Alan Perry, Piers Hart, Mary Lomas, Amanda Straderick (Suffolk Family History Society), Julie Straderick, Ian Lomas (Ride and Stride Area Organiser) and Patrick Grieve (Chairman of Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride).

A Vintage car and a family history society helped to launch this year’s Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride, which will be held on Saturday, 8 September.

Thousands of people take part every September, walking or cycling between churches, or signing in participants at churches, sponsored by family and friends.  Participants choose their own route from over 500 churches that are open for the event, as many or as few as they wish.  Sponsorship money is divided equally between their chosen church and the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, that gives grants for repairs to churches and chapels.

“This year we have invited the Suffolk Automobile Club to join in the Ride and Stride event, visiting churches on the day with veteran cars, attracting attention and contributing to our funds, not by sponsorship, but as paying guests.  It should all add to the fun of this family event, which is open to all,” said Patrick Grieve, the Chairman of Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride.  “Our ancient churches and chapels need constant care and maintenance as the government pay nothing.  We depend on the generosity of Suffolk people.  Contact your local parish organiser or our website for details   It is fresh air and fun for the family and a great day out.”

Last year £160,000 was raised by the event, and donations and sponsorship can also be collected via Just Giving.

Piers Hart and his 1929 Alvis Silver Eagle sports tourer, members of Suffolk Family History Society and Ride and Stride organisers met at St Edmund’s church in Southwold, to help announce that sponsor forms and details of this year’s Ride and Stride are now available.

“We are happy to be taking part in this event, as churches play such an important part in family history”, explained Amanda Straderick, treasurer of the Lowestoft Group and Administration Trustee for the Suffolk Family History Society.  ”Many of life’s events take place in them: baptisms, marriages and burials.  Families often attended Sunday school and other special events.   To be able to visit these churches and look round where such events took place is like walking in your ancestor’s footsteps.  And long may it continue.”

The annual Ride, which began in Suffolk 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.

Cyclists and walkers can get more details from Suffolk churches or via their SHCT Bike Ride Local Organisers, by phoning 01787 883884 or clicking here.

Spring Field Day Reminder – Saturday 12th May 2018


Spring Field Day Reminder

Saturday 12th May 2018

Darsham – Blythburgh – Southwold

Please bring your own picnic lunch

10.30 Meet at Darsham, All Saints – Coffee followed by tour of the Church

12 Noon Holy Trinity Blythburgh – Talk by Dr Alan Mackley on The Restoration of Blythburgh 1181-1906; followed by our picnic lunches, tea and coffee will be available.

14.15 Southwold, St. Edmund (parking has been arranged in the adjacent school playground). Guided tour of the church plus tea and coffee.

All three churches have a WC

The charge is £12 per head and includes a donation for the parking

To reserve your place please download this booking form and send with your cheque to the SHCT Office

A celebration of spring: Sunday 29th April 4pm at Badley church

As Yalda Davis continues her odyssey round Suffolk she has furnished us with a further update.

Dear friends,
I would like to invite you to an afternoon concert at Badley church (near Stowmarket and Needham Market) on Sunday 29th April at 4pm. I will play 2 Bach cello suites, No. 5 in C minor and No. 3 in C major.

Entry is free (donations to the Churches Conservation Trust). Refreshments will be provided.

For anyone who doesn’t know Badley church… it is quite something – the music is just an excuse! If you are able, I would thoroughly recommend a spring walk from Badley (to the east) or Little London or Moats Tye (to the west), both are about a mile’s walk. If you wish to drive, the church can be accessed only from the B1113 (the Stowmarket-Needham Market road): a track leads across the fields, also about a mile, and there is plenty of space to park outside the church.

To read Yalda’s account of Badley church and to see photos, in case your appetite needs whetting click here

For information about future concerts by Yalda please click here