Popular Suffolk church walking and cycling event returns

Left to right: Rev Alan Perry, Piers Hart, Mary Lomas, Amanda Straderick, Suffolk Family History Soc

Left to right: Rev Alan Perry, Piers Hart, Mary Lomas, Amanda Straderick, Suffolk Family History Society, Julie Straderick, Ian Lomas, event area organiser, and Patrick Grieve, chairman of Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride, launch this year's event Picture: SHCT - Credit: Archant

Thousands of people will cycle or walk between a number of Suffolk churches to raise money for the care and maintenance of the historic buildings.

The Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride, previously known as the Suffolk Historic Churches Sponsored Bike Ride, will be held on Saturday, September 8.

Participants choose their own route from more than 500 churches, which are open for the event, cycling or walking to as many or as few as they wish.

Sponsor money is divided equally between the participant’s chosen church and the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust – which gives grants for repairs to the buildings.

A vintage car and a family history society helped to launch this year’s event at St Edmund’s Church in Southwold.

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Patrick Grieve, chairman of Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride, said: “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.

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“Our ancient churches and chapels need constant care and maintenance as the government pay nothing. We depend on the generosity of Suffolk people.

“It is fresh air and fun for the family and a great day out.”

Last year the event raised £160,000 and donations and sponsorship can also be collected via JustGiving.

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

Amanda Straderick, treasurer of the Lowestoft Group and administration trustee for the Suffolk Family History Society, said: “We are happy to be taking part in this event, as churches play such an important part in family history.

”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.”

Cyclists and walkers can get more details from Suffolk Churches or from their local organisers for the event by phoning 01787 883884 or visiting www.shct.org.uk

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