Over the years, Ride + Stride has proved to be a brilliant way to see our lovely churches, travel at a leisurely pace through our beautiful Dorset countryside and raise much needed funds for the maintenance and improvement of those churches. You can take part on your own or with a small group of friends or family. In 2019, hundreds of riders and striders across Dorset inspired their sponsors to pledge £84,632.
If you decide to take part, you should make contact with your Parish Organiser, whose name you will find in your local church. He or she will give you a participant’s pack which contains all you need. Then you can start to raise sponsorship pledges and fill in the details on the Sponsorship form. You can of course secure sponsorship on-line through Just Giving. After the day itself – Saturday 12 September – please collect up all the money pledged and hand it over to your PO by the end of September.
Although it was not possible to present the Morshead Trophy at the traditional party for Parish Organisers in May, we are delighted to record that it has been awarded to St Mary's Sturminster Marshall. Their team of 16 riders and striders - a true community effort - amassed £1841 in sponsorship to win the coveted trophy for the first time. For more information, please go to our News page.
A great community effort by the tiny Dorset village of Chettle has resulted in its winning the prestigious Morshead Trophy for the outstanding effort in raising money in the Dorset Historic Churches Trust’s annual sponsored Ride+Stride event.
The Trophy, named after the founder of the Trust, Sir Owen Morshead, was handed over to the local parish organizer for the Trust, Alice Favre, by the Archdeacon of Sherborne, Penny Sayer, at a special ceremony at Chettle House on Monday 13th May.
The Chairman of the trust, John Stokoe, announced that the Ride+Stride event last September raised over £90,000 and that the largest single parish total was achieved by Chettle. As an expression of community spirit this was a case of “Small place: large result!”
Penny Sayer, who is newly appointed to her church role in Dorset, explained it was a joy to visit the varied parishes of the county as a new Archdeacon. Thanking those present, who came from all over the area, she added that it is a real pleasure of her job to visit these beautiful and thought-provoking places, especially to acknowledge a huge amount of hard work done by many to preserve and develop churches all over the area.
The money raised in the annual sponsored event goes to the maintenance of historic church buildings of all types and denominations throughout the county. Following the fantastic effort this year over £100,000 has been given out in grants for leaking roofs, crumbling walls and improved facilities in Dorset’s stock of historic and listed churches.
After the presentation, a reception was generously hosted by Mrs Rosamond Sweet-Escott on the terrace at Chettle House. Many of the enthusiastic riders and striders were able to be present and be thanked for their much appreciated efforts.
The Lulworths group, led by Revd Robert Marsden (extreme right), pause at Dagger’s Gate during their walk from East Lulworth to West Lulworth to Winfrith Newburgh and Chaldon Herring.
Revd Margaret Preuss-Higham, Lucy James and Mary Cutting prepare to start their walk from St Peter’s, Langton Herring to Abbotsbury, St Catherine’s Chapel and Portesham.
Bob Roberts celebrates cycling 65 miles from St Peter’s Langton Herring on the way to visiting 17 churches
In addition to one parishioner who bicycled for the Trust, a team from St Mary’s Church, Gillingham, led by Mrs Eileen Piper (left), opened a pop-up café on Saturday in the Vicarage School Room. Assisted by retired priest, the Revd Jeffrey Hall, the head waiter, they served homemade cakes with coffee and tea and light lunches of sandwiches, quiches and salads.
Ringing the Changes - Kate Forrester
For Dorset’s Ride + Stride for Churches this September, a group based at Bradford Peverell are ringing the changes this year - literally. Instead of simply cycling from one church to another, the group will start at Sturminster Newton and ring the church bells for about half an hour, then cycle along the North Dorset Trailway to the three further churches, repeating the ringing session at Shillingstone, Stourpaine and Durweston. They may also pop into nearby villages on the way to increase the total number of churches visited.
The Ride + Stride Ringers range from beginners to the experienced, from teenagers to those in their 60s. The whole enterprise is the brainchild of Janet Collins, an enthusiastic teacher of new ringers at Bradford Peverell. Said Kate Forrester, a new ringer, ‘I take part in Ride and Stride every year and this is a fantastic opportunity to ring some bells in different churches, which is very exciting for a beginner, whilst raising money for Dorset Historic Churches Trust!’
Sir Philip and Lady Williams plan to visit the four Great Churches of Dorset
As Dorset’s Ride + Stride for Churches draws nearer, people are creating yet more ways to take part. Sir Philip Williams, a Vice-President of Dorset Historic Churches Trust, and his wife Catherine will start at Christchurch Priory and, with a little assistance on the hilly sections from their electric bikes, will pedal to Wimborne Minster, Milton Abbey and to their destination at Sherborne Abbey. They plan to visit all four great Churches in Dorset on Saturday 8 September. Their sponsorship campaign is well underway to raise funds for the maintenance of Dorset’s precious churches, large and small. Their sponsorship will be divided equally between the churches of the Bride Valley and the Trust itself, which last year attracted £86,000 in R+S sponsorship and granted £114,000 to 18 churches in need of repair. For more information about how to support R+S or become involved go to www.dhct.org.uk or follow the riders on Twitter @ride+stride4dorset