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Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust Ride+Stride

Saturday 11 September 2021

Saturday 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 visit!

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 Eastern Avenue.

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 younger!).

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 next year!
 

 
       
       
       
   
       

 

 
 
 

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