MORE than 500 people will use bicycles, ponies and their own two feet in an effort to raise £50,000 for the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust.

On Saturday, September 13 GHCT are hoping that partakers will succeed in raising the most money ever through one event to support churches in the county.

Riders and striders aged from five to 85 are expected to take part, visiting as many of the county’s churches as possible, covering over 1,000 miles between them.

GHCT provides grant funding to Gloucestershire’s churches, helping keep them alive as places of worship, active centres of community life and landmarks of our architectural heritage.

Last year the Ride & Stride event in the county raised £47,000 and GHCT was able to give £120,000 in grants to nearly forty churches around the county.

Organiser Ailsa O’Connor said: “Ride & Stride takes place from 10am to 6pm on Saturday, September 13 and there’s no limit on the number of churches that can be visited.

“It is a great opportunity for people to dust off the bike, horse or walking shoes and enjoy a day out exploring the county.

“As well as hundreds of walkers, riders and cyclists, many other volunteers will spend the day welcoming visitors to their churches.

“A friendly face offering refreshments and local knowledge makes a huge difference to stalwart riders and striders.

“ Those who don’t wish to ride or walk can get sponsored to serve refreshments or play music in their local church on the day.”

Adventurer Bear Grylls is supporting Ride & Stride events across the UK.

“Many historic churches, chapels and meeting houses are battling to survive. Roofs leak, ancient timbers rot and medieval stonework crumbles. Now you can help by joining the Ride & Stride adventure discovering beautiful churches, chapels and meeting houses which raises money for their repair and preservation,” he said.

For more event information and to receive a sponsorship form, contact Ailsa O'Connor, the county organiser on or 01285 643343.