Get on your bikes for Norfolk churches
LORNA MARSH Hundreds of Norfolk's churches will be throwing open their doors as people use pedal power to help save their much-loved places of worship while pushing the green message.
Hundreds of Norfolk's churches will be throwing open their doors as people use pedal power to help save their much-loved places of worship while pushing the green message.
More than 800 churches of all denominations will welcome thousands of visitors on bikes and more unusual forms of transport during the annual Norfolk Churches Trust bicycle ride next month.
And Geoff Wortley, the trust's new bicycle ride co-ordinator, explained why the event has a green emphasis.
“We are calling on people of all ages to take to their bicycles, tricycles, scooters and many other forms of non-motorised two and three wheeled transport,” he said.
“This includes those who wish to join in on foot, horseback and in carriages to visit the open churches across the county in an effort to raise money through sponsorship for the benefit of the trust and their nominated church.
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“The great thing about this event is that it is an enjoyable day out for all ages and will raise money without generating CO2 emissions.”
Mr Wortley said many of the churches which will welcome visitors on September 8 are not normally open to the public giving a rare glimpse into heritage that Norfolk has to offer.
Last year participants raised more than £130,000, of which £66,286 was returned to the churches they nominated. The remainder was used by the trust to offer grants to churches to help with repair and fabric costs.
During 2006 to 2007 some 134 churches received this help.
It is the 24th year the bike ride has taken place and in this time it has become an event for many of the participants who organise family parties either during the ride or at the end, as well as lunches and barbeques.
One Norfolk rider, Edith Blackmore, took part until she was 90 years old and Mr Wortley said the trust wished her well as she takes a well-earned rest this year.
But it is now calling for more people to join in.
Norfolk is not alone in organising such an event and other counties hold similar events on the same day as part of the National bicycle ride.
The day starts at 9am and participants can build their own route to cover the number of churches they would like to visit. Volunteers man the churches until 6pm to stamp sponsorship cards, offer a welcome and usually some refreshment.
For further information on how to take part in the event, contact your area co-ordinator or the Norfolk Churches Trust office on 01603 767576.