Surprisingly not so saddle-sore after all

TWENTY-six churches.

That was my tally for the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust’s sponsored cycle ride this year, and what and a fun day it was, too.

It was a chance to catch up with some old friends, enjoy the camaraderie of the cyclists, and give the old legs a late summer work-out.

My trusty steed had a new back tyre and inner tube fitted in time – though its chain came off four times during our 16-mile ride, once when it refused to go up Peewit Hill just seconds after my legs had decided they were willing to give it a go.

Later I got stung on the neck by a nasty, black fast-flying insect.

Accompanied by my eldest son Matthew, 19, and Mrs C (who disappointingly dropped out after six miles, having decided the town churches were enough and choosing to avoid our rural ride, preferring the daunting task of cleaning our younger teenager’s bedroom), we visited all the churches in Felixstowe, Walton, the twin Trimleys, Kirton and Falkenham, before heading across the marshes to St Nicholas at Felixstowe Ferry and then home.

As usual the weathermen got it wrong – we should be able to sue them for the inconvenience of carrying waterproofs – and it was bright, mainly sunny, if a little windy.

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The headwind down to River of Life and the Seafarers’ Centre, where jovial chaplain Ken Martin was signing people in, was a little testing and annoying, and we never seemed to benefit from the wind behind us anywhere on our route.

We spotted one couple doing the ride on a tandem, saw Val the Vic from Trimley riding away from the Seafarers’, former mayor Richard Holland pedalling furiously, waited for a freight train at the bottom of Carr Road, and puzzled everyone slightly ahead of us by overtaking after a short-cut through the port.

It was great to see Doug Hart from Trimley St Martin, now in his early 80s. Doug used to do dozens of churches and more than 50 miles – even with angina problems, he was still visiting all of the Felixstowe area churches.

Let’s hope the day raised a substantial sum for the upkeep of our wonderful variety of places of worship.

? Read my full column every week in FX – our Wednesday night Felixstowe Extra pull-out in the Evening Star!

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