HUNDREDS of worshippers across Oxfordshire will get on their bikes to raise funds to preserve historic churches.

Ride+Stride, which takes place on Saturday, September 8 is a sponsored bike ride or walk between churches for individuals, families, friends and colleagues.

It is a national event but is organised locally by the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust.

The money raised will be split between OHCT and the church of the participant’s choice.

This year’s countywide event was launched by Rev John Durant, the Vicar of the Vale Benefice in the Wantage area.

Rev Durant looks after the congregations of four Anglican churches – Grove, Denchworth, Hanney and East Challow.

Speaking outside St James the Great Church in West Hanney last week, which is among the local churches that riders can visit, Rev Durant said: “The whole notion of Ride+Stride is something that I support.

“It is certainly a very popular event with people in our parishes.

“It gets people out doing things together, visiting churches and raising money.

“We are very appreciative of the money that comes directly from those taking part and also for the money that we go on to get in grants from OHCT.

“Three of our four churches have received grants this year and this has made life easier for us.

“I may not actually be able to do the event this year, but I have before and my daughter and two sons have also taken part.”

Ride+Stride is OHCT’s major fundraising event and last year it allowed the trust to make grants of £194,500 to 34 churches in the county.

A further £18,000 was handed out to help churches to install roof alarms.

This year for the first time, a cup will be awarded to the most successful team from an Oxfordshire business.

The Taylor Trophy has been made by local sculptor Eleanor Clutton-Brock.

Rt Rev Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, will be among members of the clergy completing Ride+Stride journeys on September 8.

Rt Rev Croft will be travelling between a number of Oxford churches on a narrowboat.

Last year churches across Oxfordshire were invited to apply for grants from the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust to boost their security.

The trust launched its Alarms for Churches Appeal following a series of lead thefts from the roofs of churches.

St Blaise Church in Milton near Didcot had to replace the roofing on its vestry twice in 12 months and decided to switch from lead to stainless steel.

The trust has offered to pay £2,500 towards the cost of installing a church’s electronic alarm system. To find out churches taking part in Ride+Stride visit