Norfolk Churches Trust Bicycle Ride

Hundreds of people will be getting on their bikes on September 10 to help preserve Norfolk's unique historic churches.

Hundreds of people will be getting on their bikes on September 10 to help preserve Norfolk's unique historic churches.

The annual Norfolk Churches Trust Bicycle Ride will see cyclists criss-crossing the county to visit as many churches as possible, many of them not normally open to the public.

Sponsorship money is split evenly between a church or chapel nominated by the rider and the Norfolk Churches Trust to distribute to places of worship in need of repair.

Among those taking part will be Alison McTaggart and her black labrador Flora, who is joining her for the third year running.

They compete to raise funds using separate sponsor sheets - with Flora usually getting the most.

“We put out an appeal for all the pets of the village to sponsor her through their owners and she does really well,” said Mrs McTaggart.

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“She thoroughly enjoys the experience and often picks up biscuits at the churches and has a dip in the river on the way round.

“She knows the local churches in the Repps area, has her own badge and has become a real mini-celebrity. We've worked out a route we really enjoy and it's great fun to be involved in it.”

Cyclists can choose their own route, and do not have to be churchgoers or experienced cyclists.

Popular destinations include Wiveton Chuch, for its architecture and scratch carvings of medieval ships, and Blakeney, which has a mariner's beacon and a mysterious tale of a lopped-off ear.

At Burnham Thorpe visitors can see a lectern made from the timbers of HMS Victory, and in nearby Burnham Overy Town the church provides a host of fascinating architectural puzzles.

At Somerton there are fascinating wall paintings, and visitors to the Methodist Church in Gorleston can see where John Wesley delivered his famous speeches from the pulpit.

Event organiser Brian Iles said: “We would love as many people to come out as possible and join us for a good day's cycling. We raised £131,909 last year, including gift aid, so I would love to break the £150,000 figure.

“There are some really beautiful churches out there so this is a great way of raising money for your local church and having a lovely day out at the same time.

“Norfolk has more than 1000 churches, 659 are medieval, and more than 800 are opening up for this event.”

Sponsorship forms and a list of participating buildings are available from churches, post offices or the Norfolk Churches Trust on 01603 767576.

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