The team of volunteers behind this years annual sponsored bike ride around Suffolk's churches, are encouraging walkers to get involved too.
The event, which will be held on Saturday 10 September, was launched at St Peters Church, Hospital Road Bury St Edmunds. Attending, with their bikes or walking boots, were the Bury Bicycle Collective and Bury Ramblers who are both planning to take part.
"The landscape of Suffolk would look very different without our 500 medieval churches, which are part of or social history and add much to the enjoyment of many of our walks, whether looking at their architecture and craftsmanship or simply as a shelter for our refreshment stops – some churches also providing tea and coffee facilities!" explained Rosie Perham, from Bury Ramblers. "This year our walk will be based in the Great Finborough area, visiting six beautiful churches over a distance of ten miles, led again by Ron West."
One cycling group are joining in for the first time,
"The Bury Bicycle Collective is a group of ladies who came together just over a year ago," added Ann Williamson from the Bury Bicycle Collective. "In that time they have supported many charities by taking part in cycle rides and this is an opportunity to have a ride with a difference, for the first time supporting the good work of the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust We are planning a 50 mile route to take in the local churches with the members and, in this instance, their partners are invited. Riders can join or leave the ride at any stage along the route."
Thousands of individuals, families and groups of all ages, will take part in the annual "ride and stride" on Saturday 10 September 2016, and will be planning their routes and signing up sponsors from now until bike ride day. Sponsor forms are now available in Suffolk churches or from the Trust (www.shct.org.uk), and riders and walkers choose which local church will receive half of their sponsor money. The remainder goes to SHCT to be given out as grants for essential repairs. Riders can also collect sponsorship via Just Giving
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 ride or stroll around the villages and towns of Suffolk. Disability scooters are also welcome.
"The 10th September is the day you can make a difference for your chosen church or chapel," added Patrick Grieve, the Chairman of the SHCT Sponsored Bike Ride and Stride. "Join the hundreds riding or striding around Suffolk's beautiful villages, woods and farmland. Raise your fitness and your spirits, and money for the Trust."
Routes are decided by each cyclist (or walker), incorporating stops at some of over 500 Suffolk places of worship that will be open to receive them and
Cyclists and walkers can get more more information from their local church or by contacting the SHCT Secretary on 01787 883884 or http://www.shct.org.uk/