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Winchester welcomes hundreds of cyclists for charity ride
9:00am Friday 14th September 2012 in Winchester
WHETHER they got on their bikes or on their toes, hundreds of Hampshire residents made their way to churches throughout the Winchester district on Saturday (September 8).
Organised by the Hampshire and Islands Historic Churches Trust, Ride + Stride encourages local people to visit as many churches as they can, by bicycle, or on foot, to raise money for the region's historic churches and chapels of all denominations.
Whether walking or cycling between churches, those taking part can set their own speed. In Winchester, the Cathedral Walking Group were given a cheerful send off by the Dean, the Very Revd James Atwell, as they set out on a 16-mile walk around 18 churches in the city. The group, headed by Canon Richard Lindley, were aiming to raise £1,000.
"We had a marvelous day with perfect weather" said Canon Lindley. "The Cathedral itself was visited by nearly 50 participating riders and striders".
At Easton, Winchester MP Steve Brine welcomed riders and striders to his parish church St Mary's. Mr Brine said: "Sadly a weekend full of commitments meant I couldn't commit to trips between churches this year but I'm pleased I could support the event in some small way.”
Norman Denison, 77, from King’s Somborne, has been involved with Ride + Stride for 20 years and says what most appeals to riders is to be welcomed personally at the churches. Mr Denison said: “I enjoy it as you see something different every time you go, at every place you visit, and some churches are quite creative – opening a café for the occasion or getting their whole choir to participate.”
There was a special treat for literary enthusiasts, as all three churches in Hampshire with links to Jane Austen opened; Winchester Cathedral , her burial place, Steventon, where she lived for many years, and Chawton. More than 50 churches were involved and organisers are hoping to have raised around £60,000.