Vicar gets on his bike for churches

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A vicar from Wetherby will be learning to ride a penny farthing to promote a sponsorship event that raises funds for the upkeep of churches in Yorkshire.

Ride and Stride is an annual fundraiser that sees the public sponsored to walk, drive or cycle between churches and will take place on Saturday, September 14.

But on Friday, May 31 a peloton of clergymen and women on penny farthings will sweep through Oxford in a bid to raise awareness of the charity event.

The first vicar to sign up for the launch was the Reverend Nick Morgan, from Wetherby.

He said: “I think it is a wonderful way of raising the profile of a fantastic event and a means of demonstrating, if it was ever in doubt, that the clergy are perfectly capable of having fun.”

Rev Nick will be among a dozen or so members of the clergy who will first receive instruction from experts from the Penny Farthing Club, before attempting a circular ride from St Peter’s Church, North Oxford.

Tom Ramsden, Chairman of the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust explained: “Ride and Stride is an event for people of faith and people of no faith.

“It is for long-time members of a congregation and also families who have never been to church but just want to do something fun.

Tom continued: “Churches are so important spiritually and aesthetically, and they are the setting for some of the most important events in all of our lives – baptisms, weddings and funerals.

“They are also increasingly becoming a focus for the wider community.

“Ride and Stride helps churches do this by raising funds for repair works that make them available to the public for events every day of the week, not just for Sunday services.

“We have to take care of our churches, and Ride and Stride plays a key role in this.”

The Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust provides funds for churches, chapels and meeting houses of all Christian denominations.