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81-year-old gets on her bike again for churches' fundraiser
A FORMER missionary midwife is still going strong in her efforts to raise cash for the county’s churches.
On Saturday, Eve Vause, 81, took part in her 15th fundraising bike ride and has pledged to keep going.
This year more than 900 people set out to walk or cycle different routes connecting more than 500 churches in the Ride and Stride event, organised by the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust.
At each of the churches entrants signed in, raising sponsorship money for the trust and a church of their choice.
Miss Vause, who lives in Headington, worked as a nurse and midwife, and spent time working in Africa for the Church Mission Society.
On Saturday, she pedalled round some of the churches in Oxford. She said: “I’ve been doing it for as long as I’ve lived in Oxford.
“I enjoy meeting the people in the churches and seeing the churches I wouldn’t normally see. One of the churches also had jolly good chocolate cake too. Normally these churches would be locked up, but they’re not for this, and everybody’s really friendly.”
Grandfather Roger Livett, 58, managed to see 56 churches on his 39-mile trip from Crowmarsh, near Wallingford, back to his home in Botley.
He said: “I was completely overawed by it. I don’t really go into churches apart from for weddings and funerals, so to see the architecture and the stained glass and everything was amazing.
“I think I managed to raise £250, but next year I’ll be a lot more proactive.”
Former Archdeacon of Oxford John Morrison, who now organises the event on behalf of the trust, said it was an important part of churches’ calendars.
He said: “It’s extremely important because so many more churches are open. It spreads the word about the churches.
“We do get a lot of people who aren’t religious taking part because they want to see the churches, which is really nice.
“What we’re finding is that in lots of parishes, churches are setting up friends of groups, which are not for people who worship there, but people who support them.”
He said the money raised by each participant was split equally between the trust, which gives grants to churches for new equipment and development, and individual churches nominated by entrants.
Last year the event raised £122,000, and Mr Morrison said that with money still coming in he was keeping his fingers crossed that that total could be beaten.
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