WITH the help of a helicopter, a classic car, and a motorbike, the chief executive of the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) is to visit 50 churches in 50 hours at the end of next week.
Peter Aiers is attempting the feat to mark the 50th anniversary of the Trust, but also to raise £50,000 to defend and protect churches in the CCT’s care from heritage crime.
He will begin at St George’s, Portland, in Dorset, at 7 a.m. on Thursday, travelling as far north as Cumbria and Sunderland before finishing two days later at St Mary’s, Edsleborough, in Buckinghamshire.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Aiers said: “We’re trying to highlight issues related to heritage crime: we’re carrying a liability of £2 million of repairs just from lead theft; so it’s a huge problem for our churches”
On the journey he will meet CCT volunteers to learn about the work they do to preserve churches in the Trust’s care. “I spend a lot of time in our office in London; so I’ve never had a chance to meet so many people around the country,” Mr Aeirs said. “I’ve even been offered a glass of champagne in Macclesfield, at about midnight.
“We have loads of people who are volunteering to help with the trip. I’m going to ride a unicycle in St Paul’s, Bristol; I’m going to ride a helicopter; take a police speedboat down the Thames; and ride in a 1965 Bristol — a classic car — in Bristol.
“I’m going to sleep on the longer legs of the journey. The first half of the journey will be alright; I might not be OK by the end of it.”