HUNDREDS of revellers got on the saddle this weekend to help raise some cash for the upkeep of historic churches in the county.

It was in all aid of the annual Ride and Stride fundraiser which sees members of the public sponsored to walk or cycle to as many places of worship as possible in just one day.

The idea is that people get sponsored to travel from church to church via any method of transport – although most people who take part hop on a bike.

The cash raised then gets divvied out to projects in lots of different worship venues.

Nationally the event brings in more than £1m every year, with Oxfordshire raising about £100,000 of that.

Locally, the event is organised by Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust (OHCT) which gives the money raised to church projects – although those taking part aren't all religious.

Hilary Cakebread Hall is OHCT’s Ride and Stride organiser for Oxfordshire, as well as the chair of the national organising committee.

Read more: Blenheim Palace speaks out after £1m toilet stolen

She said: “It was great to see so many families and groups of friends doing something fun and worthwhile.

“It is so important that everyone does as much as they can to help maintain our churches.

“A historic church is a beautiful and reassuring presence in a town or a village.

"It is part of the physical fabric of a place, but it is so much more.

“They have a spiritual and aesthetic role, and they are the places where some of the most important events in all of our lives take place – like baptisms, weddings and funerals.

“Increasingly, they are becoming a focus for the wider community – places where people meet during the week for events, rather than simply places of worship at the weekend.

“Ride + Stride helps them do this by funding kitchens and heating that make them available to the public every day of the week, not just for Sunday services.”

Event organiser Basil Eastwood added: “It’s a lot of hard work putting it on, but the smiles of the parents and the laughter of the children make it all worthwhile.

“The day is about fun, but it is also about getting people who perhaps do not attend church regularly to consider the importance and relevance of these buildings to their local communities.”

The national launch for this year's event was held in Oxford in May – when a peloton of vicars left onlookers bemused by riding penny farthings through the centre of the city.

Dressed in their dog collars and work attire the team took instruction from the world experts of the Penny Farthing Club in the car park of Wolvercote Primary School, riding down Woodstock Road into the city centre to raise awareness of the event.

At the time Rev David Salter, team vicar of the Chipping Norton team, said: "Ride + Stride raises such a lot of money and I wanted to give something back by helping to promote a great event.

"It was silly and a bit scary at the same time. I will be lobbying for the organisers to hold a more sedate launch event next year."