Aim is to raise in excess of £1.5 million for historic churches

Churches all across the country will be open this weekend for the annual Ride + Stride event, with people invited to walk or cycle to raise money for the vital repair and maintenance of historic churches and chapels across England.

In an effort to save churches across the country, The National Churches Trust and County Churches Trusts have joined forces for a nationwide sponsored walk and bike ride.

Ride + Stride, which takes place this Saturday, has become one of the most successful and popular annual fundraising events. Last year, from Northumberland to Cornwall, more than 13,000 people cycled or walked between their local churches, raising over £1.5 million, and this year nearly 10,000 churches are expected to be open for the event.

The money raised will help to preserve some of the country's 47,000 churches, chapels and meeting houses which are at risk of falling into serious disrepair. The event crosses 34 counties and opens the doors to some of the most rare and unusual places of worship.

Ride + Stride is open to all ages. In 2008, the oldest person to take part was Marie Zobell, a 95-year-old lady from Rochester, who walked between eight churches, while the youngest participants were still in pushchairs.

This year, one of the most energetic participants is Nick Brooke, who is running approximately 630 miles from his church of St John the Baptist, Buckhorn Weston, near Gillingham, Dorset to Poole in the same county - presumably not by the most direct route.

To participate in the event, visit www.rideandstrideuk.org to sign up, and remember to get your friends and family to sponsor you. To find out more about the National Churches Trust, go to www.nationalchurchestrust.org.