Cyclists turn to Lord’s for church cash

Philip Blakeman, left, and Tom Hollis

Buy this photo Philip Blakeman, left, and Tom Hollis

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore. Please call me on (01865) 425422

CYCLING cricketers will join hundreds of Oxfordshire residents taking part in a day of fundraising for church buildings.

Four members of Wytham Village Cricket Club will cycle from Lord’s cricket ground in London, to the village ground via 11 churches as part of Ride and Stride.

Last year 819 people walked, ran and cycled between as many of the county’s 650 churches as possible, raising £128,000 towards repairs and upkeep of the buildings – the UK’s fifth highest county total.

The cricketers’ six-hour, 70-mile cycle on Saturday, September 13 from Lord’s in St John’s Wood is to raise funds for a £100,000 project to repair the roof of All Saints Church.

Vice-captain Philip Blakeman, captain Tom Hollis and teammates Rob Aunins and Professor Matt Jarvis will saddle up.

Southmoor music documentary writer Mr Blakeman, 49, a member of the team since 2009, said: “Last year we cycled 40 miles and visited 50 churches but we thought we would try to make it more of a challenge this year. As a village cricket team, we are very much a dying breed and we are a big part of village life.

“We wanted to put something back into the village and the church needed its roof done so it made sense for us to help them out.”

Teacher Mr Hollis, from Kidlington, Botley Oxford University physics lecturer Prof Jarvis, and Mr Aunins, a Williams Formula 1 engineer from Fritwell, want to beat the £1,000 they raised last year.

All Saints churchwarden Kate Day said: “It is great to see the boys from the cricket club doing this, they were fantastic last year and I am so pleased they’re doing it again.

“We need to replace the whole roof over the chancel and part of it over the nave, which will cost about £100,000.

“We’ve raised £40,000 so far so we still have a long way to go. With the cricketers’ help and our very supportive vicar, the Rev Dr Mark Butchers, we can reach our total and keep the church going as a great place for the community here in Wytham.”

Sponsor the team at justgiving.com/wythamcricket2014 and for information about Ride and Stide visit ohct.org.uk/ ride-stride

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