Cycling vicar takes on The Way of the Roses

Reverend Andrew Wilkinson before his coast to coast ride
Reverend Andrew Wilkinson before his coast to coast ride
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A Garstang reverend and cyclist will take on the coast to coast to help raise the thousands of pounds needed to repair his church’s roof.

Andrew Wilkinson will embark on The Way of the Roses, the newest coast to coast cycle route, after thieves stripped lead from the picturesque St Michael’s Church roof.

The excess we have to find for the theft of lead from St Michael’s Church roof alone will be in excess of £50,000

Andrew Wilkinson

The church, which is on Blackpool Road in St Michael’s near Garstang, is in urgent need of repair and Andrew, who is vicar at both St Michael’s and St Helen’s Church in Churchtown, says his cause is “most worthy”.

And Andrew thinks the damage could mean he needs to raise more than £50,000 to fully fund the repairs and has urged people to sponsor him.

He said: “I have never attempted anything like this before, but God willing, I will be cycling The Way of the Roses, which is longer than the Lake District route. It’s really nice that my son George, who is 12, is cycling part of the way with me too.”

The route Andrew intends to take will see him start at Morcambe before passing through Lancaster, Settle, The Yorkshire Dales, Pateley Bridge, Ripon, York, Pocklington, the Wolds and ending in Bridlington. Andrew will also have to overcome the obstacle of a missing sign 135 miles into the ride, which according to the website, has been stolen for the third time.

Andrew set off on Monday and plans to complete the 170 mile journey by tonight. He admits he’s had some help though, with some generous gifts set to make his task a little easier.

He said: “It’s been a big help that Car Care of Garstang have equipped my bike with the latest foam compound puncture proof tyres, replacing the pneumatic ones which puncture so easily.

Sponsorship forms are still available from either of our two churches which are both open dawn to dusk and people can go in and complete them anytime. The response has been one of tremendous encouragement and I want people to remember the excess we have to find for the theft of lead from St Michael’s Church roof alone will be in excess of £50,000. Every pound sponsored towards my coast to coast ride will help this most worthy cause.”