A fundraiser to help support some of the county’s oldest churches will be taking place at the weekend.

The annual Ride and Stride event organised by Dorset Historic Churches Trust will return this Saturday.

In the meantime. the charity is calling all cyclists and walkers to get involved and do their bit to help raise the money needed to maintain some of the county’s most at-risk churches.

The aim is for participants to visit as many churches as possible, travelling either on foot, by bicycle or even on horseback.

John Stokoe, Chairman of the DHCT, said that even though many churches are hundreds of years old, they remain important to modern society and raising money for their upkeep is vital.

He added: “They are also increasingly becoming a focus for the wider community, and Ride and Stride helps this by, for example, funding kitchens or heating to make them available to the public for events every day of the week, not just for Sunday services.”

Last year the event raised over £87,000 in Dorset and more than £1 million nationally. The money is given back to churches in the form of DHCT grants to support vital repairs needed to ensure these buildings and places of worship remain at the heart of village communities.

Grants are offered by the charity to fix leaking roofs, subsiding floors, failed boilers and a host of other projects, large and small.

You do not have to attend a church or place of worship to take part; it is as much for people who enjoy an excuse to cycle down country lanes on a Saturday afternoon or for families who want to do something fun and worthwhile – everyone is welcome to join in and participate.

Even if you’re not feeling up to walking or cycling on the day, there will be ample opportunity to sponsor those who are.

It’s important to note that there is no formal restriction on the method of travel: cars, horses, scooters and bikes are all perfectly legitimate ways to ‘Ride and Stride’.

For more details on how to take part in Ride and Stride for Churches go to: www.dhct.org.uk