Ride & Stride 2021 in Filkins & BP
Ride & Stride has burrowed its way into the lives of almost all our parishes, and it helps keep watertight and welcoming so many of our thousands of beautiful churches. This is the story of Ride & Stride 2021 in Filkins & BP, from Charlotte Ashby the parish organiser.
You wouldn’t normally associate leather and Harley Davidsons with the OHCT Ride & Stride, but this year’s event got underway with slightly more Va Va Vroom than usual. At 10.10am, Filkins welcomed its first visitor, Guy Richmond from Shilton, astride a stunning blue Harley.
Not far behind, novelist Derek Skinner from Down Ampney (author of the Nethergate Trilogy) was on a slightly more traditional form of transport. He was planning to pedal to an impressive list of churches, but not before giving me a snapshot of his gripping new novel - working title ‘The Sanctuary at War’.
All visitors noted how nice it was to see a welcomer at both our churches. And where would we be without our devoted church sitters – so thank you very much Richard Martin, Diane Blackett, Jane Martin, Jimmy Ashby, Diana Hibbert, Lorraine Chitty and Gill Allison.
There is always a moment of nervous anticipation, as we prepare to pack up and still no sight of cycling legend Julia Neame. No one could leave their post until Filkins’ most faithful Ride & Strider rounded the final corner into Broughton Poggs at 5.55pm, the last church on her typically gruelling route.
Bikers, novelists and cycling legends…I can recommend a stint as a church sitter. For those new to the village who might want to take part next year, this is an annual fundraising event, where riders and striders visit as many Oxfordshire churches as they can, usually on a route planned carefully around a pub or picnic. People take part on horseback, bicycles, on foot and on Harleys. You can raise money for the upkeep of Oxfordshire’s beautiful churches and nominate a church of your choice to receive half of the money raised. Ride & Stride usually takes place the second Saturday of September. There are lots of child friendly routes around our villages and most churches are conveniently located next to a pub.