On Saturday, thousands of people across the country rallied to Bear Grylls cry and rode or walked round the countryside looking for historic churches.
The Ride + Stride event, held on September 13, is organised by the Churches Trust, a national charity that promotes the repair and revitalisation of church buildings for the benefit of the local community.
Henley’s MP John Howell helped launch a team of cyclists as they set off from St Mary’s Church in Pyrton, near Watlington, Wallingford and Stoke Row. The team, headed by Robin Fieth, was helping raise funds for churches in the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust (OHCT) area.
John said ‘I was delighted to be asked to come and give my support to Robin [Fieth] and his friends. Over the years Robin, who is a keen cyclist, has raised lots of money himself and encourages others to join in the event.
“OHCT does a great job in giving grants to local churches to help them maintain our heritage. It is a worthwhile cause with which everyone can help by either getting our and around the church on bike, foot, horse, by being at the churches to welcome those sponsored, or by signing up to sponsor people.
“Each to their own with something for everyone!’
And with glorious weather for the ride, Robin and his team enjoyed a pleasant day, managing to visit nearly 40 churches in their quest to help support ancient and historic churches.
Robin said: “We had a great day signing in at 38 churches. Some years I have raced around on my own clocking up as many churches as possible. This year I decided to get a group together for a more social but none the less challenging day.
“Thanks to Simon Thompson (Long Wittenham), Graham Dale (Rickmansworth), Jonathan Ward, Neville MacKay, Charles Davis (all London) and Peter Fry (Drayton St Leonard) for joining me and supporting the cause.”
The Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust has been supporting the county’s churches since 1964 and in more recent years Robin has been a champion fundraiser, having raised over £13,000 for the Trust.
As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations at Dorchester Abbey earlier in the year, he was invited to present a memorial cup to the Earl of Wessex .
To find out more about them and the churches they support go to http://ohct.org.uk