WHEN it comes to praying for a bit more money to aid the cause, you might think an organisation connected to ancient churches would have the inside track.

But that isn’t the case and Worcestershire and Dudley Historic Churches Trust has to join the fund raising treadmill like all the rest.

That’s why it is once again promoting its annual Ride and Stride event, which is being held this year on Saturday, September 14.

The idea is to make sponsored visits to as many churches as possible in a day and pass the money on to the Trust.

Although the official date is the 14th, when most churches have agreed to be open, the fundraising could take place on another day, but expect to find a few locked doors.

Visits should be recorded and made via any suitable means, hence Ride and Stride.

They could be by bike, pedal or motor, by car, on foot, pony or bus or any alternatives. The choice is yours.

So what exactly does the WDHCT do? It was founded in 1992 with the aim of aiding the preservation and enhancement of churches, chapels and meeting houses in the historic county of Worcestershire and the geographical area of the Diocese of Worcester, which are not the same thing.

That’s why it includes Dudley, which at one time was in Worcestershire, but was pinched a while ago by the new authority of West Midlands.

As Tim Bridges, chairman of Worcestershire and Dudley Historic Churches Trust, explained: “These places of Christian worship from all denominations, comprise more than 300 buildings ranging in date from the Anglo-Saxon period to the 21st century, all of which are important in the lives of the varied and diverse communities in Worcestershire and the Black Country.

“Today many congregations struggle to afford the repair and maintenance of these wonderful buildings and look to the wider communities for support.

Over the years the Trust has made numerous small grants to assist with repairs, conservation and archaeological investigation of historic places of worship and this remains the focus of our attention.”

Just some of the grants given in recent years by the Trust include: £500 this year to St John at Suckley for a project to adapt the nave for wider use by the local school and community; £1,500 to St Denys at Severn Stoke in 2018 for repairs to the tower; also last year, £1,000 to St Peter at Martley towards roof repairs and £1,500 this year to St James at Bishampton to help with repairs to the tower.

Tim added: “Grants from the Trust can also form the bases for obtaining match funding applications for much needed aid from larger grant giving authorities.”

So if you want to want to help your local church in 2019 you don’t necessarily need to get on your knees, get on your bike.

Details of how to take part in Ride and Stride can be obtained from the Trust’s website: worcestershireandbdudleyhistoricchurches.org.uk