Ride and Stride 2017

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Alison and Clive on Ride and Stride

Tales from Ride & Stride 2017

OHCT Ride & Stride took place on Saturday September 9th.

From Wantage: June & Alan strode around churches in Faringdon & Great Coxwell; Gordon & Gill, Carolyn, Alison B, and Clive & Alison P cycled their own ways around the Vale. At the church: Kelvin, Pam, John, Geoffrey, Ann, Eileen and Rob took turns to welcome the 30 riders & striders who visited during the day.

Our thanks to all, Clive & Alison.

What is the link? — Alison Phillips

Can you think of a link between loved buildings, welcoming people, hedgerows filled with blackberries, sunshine, country roads, champagne, ancient frescos, a wedding party, a sunny wooden bench to sit and enjoy a picnic, a shiny kettle, a crowd gathering for a Baptism, interesting people to talk to, and the knowledge that every church you visit counts?

These are just a few of the things that Clive and I saw and enjoyed during the annual Ride and Stride for the Historic Churches charity on September 9th. Cycling through the Vale of the White Horse is always our favourite route, and every year we say what a difference it makes to find someone at the church to welcome us. The offer of refreshment is always welcome, but it is the conversation which makes each visit unique, and each year we learn something new about their churches. These ancient buildings are so lovingly cared for and we
love to make time to have a look around and listen to all that is going on.

Clearly all churches are struggling to find enough people to fill the tasks that need doing, and one lady was not a church goer herself, but opens and locks the church every day so that anyone passing would be able to drop in if they wanted. Another lady told me that all her
three sons are builders and their work is primarily restoring church buildings. Their skills include roofing, plastering and making oak furniture for the various churches we were visiting.

As we travelled along, I constantly thought of and appreciated the number of people who were sitting and welcoming visitors to our church. Thank you to all those who offered to do this, not only for the visitors, but so that it meant Clive and I were able to get out and enjoy a lovely day out during which time we visited 19 churches and travelled around 25 miles.

A big thank you too to those who generously sponsored us and others who rode or strode that day, as so far over £300 has been raised and that sum will increase with gift aid added. This money is shared between the Historic Churches fund and our own church, so you could say that everyone's a winner and that is how it so often is when we do things in God's name.

June and Alan Grunwald walked 6 miles and visited 4 churches as well as Great Coxwell Barn, which was an added bonus. They were pleasantly surprised that their rusty map reading skills enabled them to navigate a circular walk from Badbury Hill, through Faringdon and out to Great Coxwell. They took fright at a "Bull in Field" sign which entailed a slightly longer walk back to the National Trust car park at Badbury. The highlights of their walk included a history exhibition at the Friends Meeting House (and delicious cake) and a beautiful modern stained glass window at Great Coxwell church.

Gordon and Gill write: We went East this year, starting in Grove then Denchworth and Hanney, travelling with the wind across the plain to Steventon, Drayton and Milton. We then explored the wilderness of the Milton interchange .... that was an adventure!!! And then home to Charlton and Wantage through the Hendreds. Ardington and Lockinge (21 churches and 28 miles).

The highlights were the Baptist Chapel at Drayton and weddings at Steventon and Drayton Parish Churches. The jewel was the Chapel at Milton Manor.

We managed to limit significant hill climbing to the climb up from Milton interchange, dodge the rain, and find the way from East Hendred to Wantage without going on the main road at all.

Our thanks to those on the way who welcomed us, fed us biscuits and drinks — no champagne but welcome coffee and squash.

Maybe next year we could add Abingdon and Didcot? Need to get more cycling practice in before then!!

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