11 September was the day of the annual sponsored
Ride+Stride, which raises money for the Historic
Churches Trust, all over the country. Our church
received the very substantial amount of £10,000 from the
Trust a few years ago for our major building works, so
it's a good cause to support. Of the money we raise for
the Trust, half comes back to St Matthew's.
Last year due to covid we'd taken a different route,
away from the town centre, but not visiting so many
churches. This year we tried the old route out again.
There weren't many other people out on the streets so we
felt very safe. This year the personnel had changed as
stalwarts Mary and Roger had both ruled themselves out
on health grounds, but Dorrie was joined on the walk by
a first-timer, Sandra. Recorders at the church had
changed this year too � after many faithful years
Christine and Barbara decided it was time for new blood,
so teams doing two hours each consisted of Mary with
Tony, then Mary with Carol and finally Liz with Dorrie
back from her walk. Many thanks to all of them.
Again we followed a route to maximise on the number of
churches possible to visit without it becoming a
marathon, it's always been more of a Ride+Stroll, as we
look upon it more as a sociable gentle amble and chat.
The "Ride" bit is cyclists who take part, though we
don't seem to have any at St Matthew's!
Thankfully, it was a bright and sunny morning, and the
forecast was to stay that way. At 10.00am we signed in
at St Matthew's and then off we set for Kingsley Park
Methodist Church just across the road. Immediately
Sandra met a friend of hers there, and for the first
time ever we encountered a recorder entering our details
straight onto a computer form.
There are an abundance of churches on our way into town,
so it's easy to start ticking them off - first was St
Michael's, who share their building with the Romanian
Orthodox community. If you haven't been in and seen
their amazing iconostasis, please do - it's well worth a
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church was unfortunately not open
again this year and Queensgrove Methodist Church was not
open till later so the plan was to do that one on the
way back. So it was straight across the Mounts to Holy
Sepulchre, one of only four round churches remaining in
the UK, founded around 1100 AD. Again, Sandra met a
friend here - their churchwarden John, whom she knows
from them both working at the food bank at St David's in
The next bit of the route is where we used to go off
into the unknown trying to find Castle Hill URC, but
with Dorrie in charge now we made it a lot easier and
just went through the town centre - simple! Sandra was
fascinated by seeing churches she's never been in before
and being able to have a look around.
A short hop then to St Peter's in Marefair and up
through the town centre to our next stop, All Saints'
with, as usual, the row of Classic buses that give free
rides around the Heritage Weekend sites waiting in
George Row. All Saints' is a special place for Sandra,
having been to many services there during her time as
Akela with the Cubs and more recently as Hedgehog to St
Matthew's Beavers, and spent many minutes having a good
look round while Dorrie had a good sit!
By the time we got to St Giles' Dorrie was beginning to
flag, and decided to cut out Victoria Road
Congregational Church and head straight to Queensgrove -
she was to do a stint as a recorder back at base camp
and time was getting short.
To our disappointment the church was shut but Sandra
noticed a clear folder pinned to the door with some
Ride+Stride stickers and a signing in form so we signed
that and called it a day. Dorrie caught the bus home for
a quick sandwich before heading back over to St
Matthew's while Sandra walked back (being much
So how much did we all raise? £530, so that's £265 that
will be coming back to St Matthew's. Many thanks to all
of you who sponsored us!
Ride+Stride is always on the second Saturday in
September; maybe you'll join us next year? Sandra was so
enthused by the experience she's already signed up for