Ride+Stride 2020 gets going despite widespread restrictions

Covid restrictions haven't stopped this year's Ride Stride from going ahead(Photo: National Churches Trust)

Ride+Stride 2020 got underway on Saturday despite many churches still being closed due to Covid-19.

The annual sponsored walk and cycle is taking place across 24 counties to raise vital funds in support of historic churches. 

Last year's Ride+Stride raised over £1.2m towards the restoration and preservation of the UK's historic churches, chapels and meeting houses. 

Many of them have weather-worn roofs, gutters and downpipes, leaving the buildings and their historic interiors at risk of devastating water damage. 

Some 913 churches are already on Historic England's 'Heritage at Risk' Register. 

As part of the initiative, walkers and cyclists are sponsored to visit as many churches as they can in a day. 

Now in its 38th year, over £35m has been raised nationally to fund urgent church repairs since Ride + Stride started in 1982.

In normal circumstances, churches would be open and manned by teams of volunteers ready to greet participants and give them some welcome respite. 

This year, some participating churches have not re-opened after lockdown but organisers promised the "welcome will still be there as well as the appreciation of the efforts from all who are taking part to raise funds". 

National 'Ride + Stride for Churches' chairman Hilary Cakebread Hall said: "We have seen over the last few months, the good that churches and chapels are doing in their communities.

"Daily we hear of wonderful stories how churches are increasingly becoming a support for the wider community.

"'Ride + Stride for Churches' helps provide vital funding to enable the repairs to the building and installation of kitchens and heating that makes them able to serve the needs of the public."