The organisers of a national event that helps raise money for the upkeep of historic churches around the country are looking to recruit vicars keen to learn to ride penny farthings.

The unusual request has come from the people behind the Ride + Stride annual fundraiser, which takes place this year on September 14th.

Oxford is the venue for the national launch of Ride + Stride on Friday May 31st – and clergy from the Diocese are being urged to take part in something that promises to be unusual and fun.

Clergy who sign up will get the chance to learn to ride a penny farthing and then (competence and courage permitting) will be able to do a Ride + Stride of their own with a short church-to-church cycle on quiet back roads in the city.

Instruction will be provided by world experts from the Penny Farthing Club, and clergy do not have to pay a thing to take part. Clerical collars should be worn (the spectacle should be as quirky as possible) but the instructors have expressed concerns about cassocks getting caught in spokes, so it is probably best to leave them at home.

The organisers are especially keen to hear from clergy whose churches have received grants from Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust (OHCT) or support of any kind from the National Churches Trust (NCT).
It is anticipated that the event will be attended by local and national media. So, as well as being a great way of raising the profile of Ride + Stride it is a great opportunity to demonstrate that clergy can appreciate a little silliness in a good cause.

The event is being organised on behalf of OHCT by Richard Tilley, who said: “We are sure there are plenty of dynamic and not so dynamic clergy out there who would be interested in this. We think it would be very nice if churches and congregations that have had investment from OHCT are represented at this event, but this is for all clergy.

“You don’t have to be super fit to do this. The only real requirement is that you turn up – it would be awful to have TV cameras there, but no vicars – so don’t commit if you are unsure. The event is likely to start at around 10am in North Oxford and take about two or three hours. You will get lessons in a school car park and then you can take to the roads if you feel confident enough. This great chance to publicise a wonderful fundraiser can’t happen without you, so please let me know if you are interested as soon as possible.”

If you are a clergy person keen to give this a go email for more information.