Even people of no faith value heritage of our churches
IT WAS a great pleasure to be able to support the ‘Ride and Stride’ day on September 13, to raise funds for Buckinghamshire’s churches of all denominations.
The purpose of this event, in which I take part every four years, is for people to visit as many churches as they can, to raise money for the Buckinghamshire Historic Churches Trust, so that this organisation can help with the repair or restoration of churches and chapels.
The rule is, though, that the visits must be made ‘using a non-mechanical form of transport’. For that reason I took to pedal power, travelling by bicycle. Some people chose to make their visits on foot, planning a walk from church to church. It is also within the rules for supporters to use ‘one horse power’, by making their journey on horseback.
That day also was a family event for me, because I was joined by one of my sons and together we cycled 60 miles, visiting all 36 churches with the boundary of my Beaconsfield constituency. We were helped by pleasant weather that was not too hot. I am much fitter for the pedalling.
The Historic Churches Trust is an excellent charity, its patrons being the Lord Lieutenant, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, and the Bishop of Buckingham. Thanks to the generous support I have received. I have to date raised more than £3,000 and I am very grateful to all who have supported the charity by sponsoring them.
Our churches are community centres by their very nature and the work done within their parishes helps people irrespective of their religious faith.
Our church buildings are part of the Buckinghamshire landscape, as well. The upkeep of such buildings, whatever their age, is a big undertaking for the faith community, but it can be surprising how people of other faiths or of none will still value and wish to see these historic buildings continue to be kept in good repair.
Dominic Grieve MP for Beaconsfield