The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) director and assistant director will be riding a tandem bike 96 miles in 48 hours, from Croydon to Salisbury, starting on the 10th June to raise money for the RSCM on its 96th birthday.
The RSCM is a church music charity that has supported music in worship for nearly 100 years.
Encouraging and resourcing churches, musicians and church communities, with a network of thousands of affiliated churches, schools and other institutions, as well as individual members, the RSCM provides vital work for the flourishing of church music.
By cycling 96 miles in 48 hours, director Hugh Morris and assistant director Paul Hedley are aiming to raise £9,600 to kick-start the RSCM Centenary Fund.
The money raised will pay for projects, such as providing congregations with resources and training to encourage children and young people to join their choirs. It will enable churches to start new choirs and reinvigorate ones that shrank during COVID.
Hugh Morris, director of the RSCM, said: “The RSCM wanted to launch its centenary appeal in style so when I realised that it was 96 miles from Addington Palace in Croydon where we were based for over 40 years to our current offices in Salisbury, I had an idea.
“Paul is a keen cyclist, so I suggested that we launch our centenary appeal in our 96th year with a 96-mile sponsored tandem ride.”
During the ride, the pair will stop off at member churches to meet choir and congregation members and lead them in singing two anthems, a hymn and a psalm.
The ride takes place over the weekend which the RSCM encourages churches across the country to mark as Music Sunday, celebrating the role of music and musicians in the life of churches.
Paul Hedley, assistant director, explained: “For generations the hymn ’And can it be’ has been known by choristers as ‘The Cyclists Hymn’ because it includes the line ‘My chains fell off’. I hope we won’t have that problem, but I know Hugh and I will be encouraged to continue pedalling when we hear our supporters singing it.
“Other choirs may choose to sing Psalm 96. It begins, ‘Sing to the Lord a new song’ words that fit well with the aims of the Centenary Fund. Many children today never get the chance to sing in a choir. How will our churches sing a new song in the future if there are no young people singing?”
Hugh Morris concluded: “The RSCM has a vital role to play in encouraging and enabling music in churches. Many people may not think of this as important, but most would miss the lead of the choir and organ at a carol service, or the beauty of the singing at a wedding. These things will be lost if we don’t act now.”
The tandem ride will take place from 10 to 12 June; supporters of church music can sponsor Hugh and Paul by donating through the RSCM website (www.rscm.org.uk) or by sending a cheque (clearly marked Director’s Challenge and payable to the RSCM) to the Development Team at RSCM, 19 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EB.