Congregation raises £20,000 by pedaling from Belgium to Hartley Wintney to pay for St John's Church revamp

Basingstoke Gazette: Cyclists raise £20,000 by pedaling hundreds of miles from Belgium to Hartley Wintney Cyclists raise £20,000 by pedaling hundreds of miles from Belgium to Hartley Wintney

CHURCHGOERS cycled 300 miles home to Hartley Wintney from Belgium as part of a fundraising drive.

Members of the congregation of St John’s Church, in Fleet Road, took four days to cycle from Malle, which is twinned with Hartley Wintney, to the Hampshire village.

The ride, which took place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, raised £20,000, with 90 per cent of that going towards the cost of the new church centre at St John’s.

The rest of the money will be split between Hartley Wintney-based charity The Matthew Elvidge Trust, and St Michael’s Hospice.

Organiser Andrew Ewbank said: “Having cycled from Hartley Wintney to Paris in 2010, we had been seeking the next challenge.

“It was very special to make the connection with our twin town in Belgium and to involve so many people from our local church and community.”

The ride saw the 35-strong group cycle through Belgium, cross the Channel, before cycling up and down the hills of Kent and Sussex.

They arrived back in Hartley Wintney on the Bank Holiday Monday, and after a lap of honour around the cricket green, the group enjoyed a barbecue on the village common.

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