News and Events

Queens Jubilee and Festival of Suffolk Torch Relay

Is the Suffolk Torch Relay coming to your area? Have you got a ‘local hero’ who could ride in the rickshaw and carry the torch?

The Festival of Suffolk is having a Torch Relay, carried on its journey in May by selected community torch bearers riding on a rickshaw. The symbolic torch will tour the county from Fri 13 May 22 to Wed 1 Jun 22 to herald the start of the Festival of Suffolk and the celebrations to mark HM the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

Suggested local heroes will be nominated by their community and it is hoped that all the towns and villages take the opportunity to celebrate and welcome the torch as it transits through their community. The torch begins its journey on the county boundary at Brandon and then passes through 250 towns and villages, a distance of over 550 miles before reaching its final destination at the Suffolk Show in Ipswich. 

Communities across Suffolk are invited to nominate worthy individuals to carry the torch. These could include local heroes or notable characters chosen in recognition for their service to the community. Most torch bearers will sit in the rickshaw and so it is suitable for all ages and all abilities.  Suggestions should be made to parish councils or via

A small team comprising of the rickshaw driver and a support vehicle will escort the torch throughout its journey. The team will keep the torch on schedule and ensure the safe passage of the torch. Led by the Bury St Edmunds rickshaw team, the rickshaws of Framlingham and Stowmarket will also join in along the route.

There is an official route for Torch Relay but it may be possible for the Torch to also go to other community events that are planned for the Jubilee celebrations and the Festival of Suffolk. Organisers should send the Festival of Suffolk team their requests via the website. 

The torch is currently being made in Suffolk  and the design is a closely guarded secret at the moment, but will have great symbolism for the county and the Queen. 

Further information on the Torch Relay and other Festival of Suffolk events can be found on the Festival of Suffolk website

Update on the Suffolk Churches Day 2021 fundraising total….

An update! We have raised £205,000 from Ride and Stride and Pedal & Drive. An amazing total for one day… although we know lots of work from our wonderful volunteers takes place before the day.

Patrick Grieve, (right) planning his route in 2018.

The Chairman of Ride and Stride, Patrick Grieve has retired from the voluntary post after many years hard work, although he still remains a Trustee. What a way to go! Thank you Patrick for all you have done… and welcome to Simon Ronan who is taking over.

Just under £200,000 raised in a day!

Photo by Paul Paige


Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride annual fundraising event for Suffolk’s church buildings, held on Saturday 11th September, has topped the previous year’s total once again. 

Suffolk Historic Churches Trust are pleased to announce that, with the counting nearly complete, just short of £200,000 has been raised by the hundreds of cyclists, walkers, vintage & classic car enthusiasts and church volunteers who took part in the annual  ‘Suffolk Churches Day’ events on September 11th 2021. 

Ride & Stride participants nominate a church or chapel to receive half their sponsor money, and the other half goes to the Trust. The Trust’s share will be given as grants to help communities restore or improve churches and chapels of all denominations.

Over 500 churches across Suffolk take part in the fundraising day which is organised by a vast team of volunteers and is supported by many non-church-goers. 

“Riders and walkers for the Trust surprised us again with another bumper event, raising even more than last year,” said Patrick Grieve, Chairman, Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride.. “Many thanks to all our loyal and energetic participants, dedicated supporters and generous sponsors. Suffolk raises more for the event than any other county in the kingdom.”

Participants in Ride and Stride chose their own route around Suffolk’s churches, visiting as many or as few as they wished. For the third year, Ride and Stride was joined by Pedal & Drive, its sister event. Over 100 vintage and classic cars, set off from various points in Suffolk to enjoy a given route around five churches, whilst competing in a quiz and photo competition. The Trust is pleased to announce that the drivers raised over £15,000 towards the total. 

“The churches and chapels of Suffolk will be so grateful for the efforts of all those who biked, walked or drove their vintage or classic car to raise money that will go towards their upkeep. Raising £200,000 in one day is a huge achievement!” said Geoffrey Probert, Trust Chairman. 

Photo by Carol Challacombe

In 2022 Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride, and Pedal & Drive, will be held on Saturday 10th September.

SHCT Friends AGM 2021 – Chairman’s Report

At the Friends of SHCT AGM 2021

On Monday 11th October, the Trust Chairman, Geoffrey Probert welcomed all present to Haughley Park Barns for the first Annual Meeting since 2019 (last year’s having been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic):  

The 2020 Ride and Stride and Pedal and Drive was a great success, with £192,000 raised in one day.  We think we have granted about £7 million to the churches and chapels of Suffolk since the inception of the Trust.  

A fortnightly e-letter – ‘The Churches and Chapels Chat’ – was established during the pandemic, with contributions from SHCT Trustees and other supporters.  This has been well received and will be continued.  

The GS2222 proposals from the Church of England, aimed at simplifying existing legislation so as “to manage the disposal of churches no longer needed for public worship” are proving contentious.  SHCT is facilitating responses to the proposals by requesting its network of area and local Ride and Stride organisers to raise awareness of the issues involved with a view to inviting comments and representations.

Yalda Davis has completed her project to raise money for SHCT, The Churches Conservation Trust and The Suffolk Wildlife Trust by playing her cello in all of Suffolk’s 511 medieval churches and chapels.  She started in April 2017 and ended at St Bartholomew’s, Orford in September 2021.  This has been a remarkable achievement, bringing wonderful music to Suffolk’s beautiful churches while helping to raise money for their preservation.

Various changes are pending within the ranks of SHCT Trustees.  Martin Favell has indicated his intention to step down at the end of the current financial year in April 2022.  Martin’s lengthy contribution to the Trust, as Treasurer for twelve years then Chairman for seven years, has been immense.  Patrick Grieve is also standing down, handing over the Chairmanship of the Ride and Stride to Simon Ronan.  Again, Patrick’s contribution to the success of the Trust, particularly as Chairman of the Trust’s leading fundraising event (which he took over in 2008), is hard to overstate.  Simon Tennent will be retiring as a Trustee in the near future.  Simon was for many years Secretary of the Grants Committee, and his experience and good sense have been greatly valued.  Thankfully, Simon will continue to serve on the Grants Committee.  Finally, Mike Kiely, who has fewer years to his name as our Hon Secretary, is moving on but what he lacks in years he has more than compensated for in his efficiency, hard work and helpfulness.

We are grateful to Bishop Mike Harrison for joining us this evening as our speaker and for the support he and Bishop Martin gave us this year in publicising the Ride and Stride.

Grants awarded in October

At its October meeting in 2021, the SHCT Grants Committee awarded ten grants totalling £36,200

At St Mary at the Elms Church, Ipswich on Ride and Stride Day 2020

All Saints, Great Glemham

The Baptist Chapel, Stradbroke

St Mary, Barking

St Mary at the Elms, Ipswich

St Mary, Rickinghall Inferior

St Margaret, Thrandeston

St Andrew, Mutfod

St Mary, Stoke by Nayland

All Saints, Kesgrave

All Saints, Hundon

Congratulations to the successful churches. The next Grants committee is in January 2022. For more information on how to apply for a grant from Suffolk Historic Churches Trust:

Photo competition winners announced.

Striders meeting up at Sapiston (by Tessa Wise)

For the second year, the photo competition for those taking part in Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride has resulted in some excellent photos of our wonderful churches and those taking part on the day. 

Our independent judge really enjoyed looking at all the entries and wanted to pass on her congratulations. She said she has now discovered some churches she hasn’t yet visited… but will do soon. 

The winners are Tessa Wise, for her lovely set of six photos that ideally portrayed the required categories (Entrance door of a church or chapel, a memorial plate, plaque or gravestone, a non-conformist church, a church window, a free choice…and a selfie ). She receives a £75 book token as her prize.

“It was a great day out exploring Suffolk churches and meeting fellow participants and volunteers. We walked 14 miles, visited 9 churches and still had the energy to go to St Mary’s church, Ixworth for Hymns and Pimms at 6pm!” Tessa said.

The independent judge also chose the photo of a harvest church window at Langham, as her favourite from all the entries. Congratulations to Graham Hughes from Wetherden, who receives a £25 book token.

The prizes were provided by a supporter of Suffolk Historic Churches Trust who organise the fundraising day each year. Money raised is divided 50/50 with the participants chosen church and the Trust, which gives grants for the church restoration and improvement projects. 

The sister event, Pedal and Drive for veteran and classic cars also held a photo competition which was won by Catherine Hollywood, and was taken at  Catherine won a bottle of champagne. 

Next year’s events will be held on Saturday 10 September. Details on

To see more of the photos look at Ride and Stride and Pedal and Drive pages of the website.

At St Nicholas Church, Denston (by Catherine Hollywood)

We did it!!

Photo by Paul Page.

Hundreds of churches opened across Suffolk on Saturday 11th September to welcome a thousand or so walkers and cyclists for the annual Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride Day, when sponsored participants could choose their route around the county. 113 veteran and classic cars also took part in the sister event, Pedal & Drive, leaving from fivedifferent country houses, along six assigned routes, visiting six churches, before assembling at Lavenham.

“ I was extremely pleased that the day went so well and, by the end, the sun was shining too. People have been very generous with their time, organising this big fundraising day,  and with their donations for Suffolk Historic Churches Trust,” said Trust Chairman, Geoffrey Probert, as he watched the cars arrive. “I spent the morning going to churches that the cars weren’t visiting and I saw lots of cyclists and walkers, and the volunteers signing people in were pleased with the number of visitors they had already had.”

This was the 40th annual sponsored cycling event, an idea that began in Suffolk before spreading across the country.  Last year the day raised £190,000 that was divided between the Trust, to be given in grants to restore and improve church buildings, with the remaining half of the sponsorship money given to the church chosen by each cyclist or walker. 

Next year’s events will be held on Saturday 10th September. 

(Look at the Ride and Stride and the Pedal & Drive pages for this years photo galleries. The photo competition for Ride and Stride closes on Weds 15th September. Winners to be announced. )

Ride and Stride Photography Competition 2021


Saturday 11 September 2021 9-5pm

Many people walking or cycling around Suffolk on Ride and Stride Day like to take photos so we have a competition. The lucky winner/s will be contacted and will also be announced on our website. Entry is free, but we ask that you are sponsored by family and friends on your journey. (We give grants to help preserve our beautiful church buildings.) There is a sponsor form on  or you can fundraise via

The prize is a £75 voucher, for the best set of photos, and £25 voucher for the best individual photo. (They may be taken by the same person of course!)  The prizes are  kindly sponsored by a supporter. 

The six photos to be taken on Ride and Stride Day 2021 will be of:

  1. The entrance door of a church or chapel
  2. A memorial plate, plaque or gravestone
  3. A non-conformist church (ie, not Church of England but Methodist, Baptist, Unitarian Meeting House, etc)
  4. A church window.
  5. A free choice… whatever you wish to mark about your day.
  6. A selfie of you celebrating outside a church when you complete your journey. (Cheers, waves and excitement are encouraged!) 

The submitted photos may be used for publicity for the Trust, encouraging others to support our work, and the photographer will be credited when any are used. 

Please take your six photos on Saturday 11th September, Ride and Stride Day, then email (by the closing date, 15.9.2021) to An independent judge will choose the winners. Please include:

Name :                                               email:                                     



Good luck!

2020 winners: The Britt family.

July Grants to churches

£38,000 has been awarded to churches applying to the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust this July.

St Peter and St Paul church, Clare (photo by Simon Knott,

At our July meeting the Grants Committee made awards to these churches and wish them all the best with their restorations and improvement projects.

St Peter & Paul, Clare

St Mary, Bacton

St Andrew, Rushmere St Andrew

St Andrew, Bredfield

St Mary, Langham

St Mary, Horham

St John, Needham Market

St Peter, Wenhaston

SS Peter & Mary, Stowmarket

St Mary, Badwell Ash

The Grants Committee welcome applications from Suffolk churches, chapels and meeting halls. See the Grants section of this website. Meetings are held quarterly.

Wenhaston Church ( Simon Knott,