The Revd Mike Leigh of St Mark's, Scarborough will exchange his cassock for a pair of lyrca shorts as he jumps on his bike to raise money for a church roof.
Revd. Mike Leigh will lead a team of riders on a three-day 150-miles sponsored cycle ride from Morecambe to Scarborough to keep the pounds flowing in to an appeal pot that will eventually pay to replace the roof and extend the church at St Mark’s, Newby.
The 47-year-old clergyman will head a team of 11 riders who will start out on Bank Holiday Monday, May 1, with the finish (hopefully!) outside the Sands development on the North Bay on the Wednesday afternoon.
Revd Leigh said:
‘I haven’t done much cycling since I was a teenager, apart from around the parish, so this will be quite a challenge. I just hope my legs will stand up to it!’
Initially the vicar, who is also the Rural Dean of Scarborough, was going to take on the challenge on his own, but offers of companionship came flooding in when the story made the church newsletter.
‘Vicars are regularly roped in to help with church fundraising events,’ said St Mark’s building project manager Trevor King, ‘but I think Mike preferred taking on the cycling rather than sitting in a bath of beans all day – though he might just regret it by the finish!’
The pedalling priest and the rest of the group have been on training rides to remind their muscles of the soreness to come as they face crossing the Pennines along the Way of the Roses national cycle route.
‘Let’s say some are more experienced riders than others,’ said Mr King, ‘some have done a lot but two of them don’t even own a bike and have had to hire one for the duration of the ride!’
The cyclists start from Morecambe and end the first day at Scargill Christian community near Kettlewell in the Yorkshire Dales. Day two sees them head further east with an overnight stay in Easingwold before the ride into Scarborough on the final day.
St Mark’s have currently raised £48,000 of the £85,000 they need to pay for the first phase of the project.
‘The sponsored ride has already attracted a lot of support. We hope it will raise around £6,000,’ added Mr King.
The church has set up a Just Giving page, at https://www.justgiving.com/stmarks-newby.