Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust

Ride and Stride 2023

Phew - it was hot! 

A great big thank you ...

to all who braved the heat and helped to make it another really successful year allowing us to give grants out to those churches who need it so desperately.

The heat was definitely this year’s challenge, after last year being two days after the Queen’s death, this year last-minute reminders were sent to churches to make sure they provided water and perhaps open earlier. Many riders and striders did start early and may not have signed registers if churches weren’t open. They were assured that they could shorten their routes and that sponsors wouldn’t mind! Most sponsors give a lump sum rather than an amount per church visited.

Most churches were open as promised and Riders and Striders really appreciated the respite from the sun in our historic churches and welcome cold drinks. Around 295 (308 in 2022) churches took part and of them 201 (187 in 2022) were manned for at least part of the time, 107 (89 in 2022) open with a register available and 24 (32 in 2022) with just a register outside. Numbers recorded on the registers are down, but we are hoping that sponsorship would already have been sorted and that the income money would not be affected too much. By December 31st 2023, 153 churches had sent sponsor money to our Treasurer.

The Grand Total raised is £44,162

The total for 2023 received by 31st December 2023 is £44,162 excluding Gift Aid. A magnificent total and we are grateful to all those churches who helped reach this figure. The following churches raised over £1000 each: Brackley, Oundle, Stoke Doyle and Welton. A special thank you to them.

This is yet another really good year and a real tribute to all those volunteers who work to make Ride and Stride in Northamptonshire the success that it is particularly in these difficult times.


  • The enthusiasm of Local Organisers who keep us informed of their church arrangements as they changed and persuaded folk to ride and stride and find sponsors
  • We are grateful to all our Area Organisers who show great tenacity in contacting churches. We extend particular thanks to two Area Organisers who are leaving us. Arthur Wright has been involved with the Trust for over 20 years and has quite rightly, with his 90th birthday coming up, decided to step down from the Area Organiser role in Higham Deanery. Penny Pardoe has been an Area Organiser, originally for the whole of Towcester Deanery and later for half, for about 15 years and was Membership Secretary from 2010 to 2014 when the role became Friends Secretary and Ruth Fitch took over. Both are continuing as Local Organisers. Thank you to Andrew Presland who has agreed to take over from Arthur, but we are looking for someone to take on half the Towcester deanery; it is not necessary to live in the area.
  • Thank you - to everyone else who helped to make the day such a success: of course, our Treasurer, Eddie Byland for his calm encouragement and advice and sorting out all the money side so efficiently - and lastly all The Riders and Striders!
Publicity and Promotion

This is always a challenge and we are grateful to those who encouraged Riders and Striders via their parish magazines and websites. It would be good to find someone to help us with marketing and promoting Ride and Stride, particularly with social media.

News from the Riders and Striders - 2023

"Despite the hot weather, we thoroughly enjoyed taking part and the hospitality at all the churches we visited was lovely. I hope this year’s event raises lots of money"

"Our new vicar did all five churches in the Benefice - ours was the last and he looked very hot!" Rushton
"I felt a lot of sympathy for those who came through our door clearly feeling the heat (one man even dripped sweat onto the sheet as he filled it in!). Often people would take a break and sit down or have a look around the church while they were here, but this time they obviously wanted to get on and get finished!"
St Matthews, Northampton
Diane Martini, Kings Cliffe

It must have broken records for the hottest sponsored bikeride day but it was a wonderful day out - there are always some beautiful and even quirky features to discover and engaging people to meet along the way who can tell the story behind their local church. The "church sitters" who welcome people in and provide refreshments are definitely as important as the riders and walkers - the lady on duty at Pilton kindly gave me a guided tour of the windows with their jewel-coloured panels showing various animals and birds which Baron Lilford installed to commemorate his menagerie, also the east window with the unusual series of scenes from the story of Adam and Eve, with the Crucifixion in the panels above. Even the finials at the end of the choir stalls have animals carved into them. Other highlights I had not noticed before include the font in Tansor church with its gargoyle heads on the supporting pillars, and the lovely windows there - the Resurrection and the Nativity; the beautiful statue in a niche above the door at Cotterstock - unusual because of so many being lost in the Reformation. Cotterstock is another favourite, such a lovely setting above the river and amazing homemade refreshments - including the famous bicycle biscuits...

Duncan Martin, Elizabeth Collins and Virginia Henley at Church Brampton, having visited East Haddon, Harlestone and Holdenby after an early start.

Duncan Martin, Elizabeth Collins and Virginia Henley at Church Brampton

Sally Knight and Charlotte Barford, raising money for St Rumbald’s, after very hot walk across the benefice, appreciating the cold stone floor of St Rumbald’s Church, Stoke Doyle

Sally and Charlotte laying on the cool church floor

Mike Adams at Oundle made this great YouTube video.

Diane Martini from Kings Cliffe at St Rumbald’s Stoke Doyle.

Diana Martini from  Kings Cliffe at St Rumbald’s Stoke Doyle
Striders from Warmington

Christine Roberts, Mary Marvin, John Miley, Ray Roberts at Fotheringhay church.

Christine Roberts, Mary Marvin, John Miley, Ray Roberts at Fotheringhay church
St Andrew's Cotterstock

They always hold a coffee morning on Ride and Stride day ...

Some photos which I think do capture the heat! - Rowena

Jenny Smith

I was the only visitor to Easton. Managed to Stride round several churches in Stamford.