During Ride and Stride 2019 on 14 September 2019 a team from St Mark and the redoubtable Francois Hugo from Chilworth raised over £660 for the Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust
This weekend Captain Francois Hugo MN visited every church in the Romsey Deanery by bicycle, a route he has been riding in aid of Ride and Stride for over twenty years. More than £100 has been raised this year alone. He describes the day as being perfect riding weather and finding open doors almost everywhere, with a team welcoming people at about a quarter of the churches he visited. Meanwhile the team of walkers, drivers and runners from St Mark visited six churches connected with St Mark and the @acnbchurch group of churches raising more than £560.
Ride and Stride is the main fundraising event for the HIHCT, and in 2018 raised more than £65,000 through small donations and a multitude of projects like those from @acnbchurch this year. The funds are all redistributed towards both the participating churches and in grants to help repair and sustain historic churches as places of worship and life. The Trust’s chair is Lady Joan Appleyard.
Francois started cycling in the 1950’s and has been riding ultra long distance Audax rides since 2003. He started this circuit for ‘Ride and Stride’ about 20 years ago the Vicar’s suggestion. Revd Peter Salisbury then part of @acnbchurch was keen to encourage support for the HIHCT after a grant from the Trust towards St Denys. Francois now raised many thousands of pounds towards the work of the Trust.
This was the first year St Mark has participated in Ride and Stride in this way. Jan Lidstone put a route together round churches connected to St Mark or the group of @acnbchurch churches, including All Saints, Hursely, St Swithuns Crampmoor and St John the Baptist – where they found a wedding in progress. Jennie, Jemma and Jo joined Jan together with support from Steve, Daryl and Bracken the puppy.