THE Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DCHT) has welcomed a new chairman.

John Stokoe CB CBE will take on the role for the Dorset charity.

Since leaving the army as a Major General in 1999, Mr Stokoe has gained considerable commercial experience in the private sector, principally in the construction, science and technology fields.

He is an experienced non-executive director of NHS foundation trusts and is an ambassador for the Defence Medical Welfare Service.

He was a churchwarden in Ashmore, Dorset, and he and his wife now live in Sherborne.

Mr Stokoe said: “I am really looking forward to working with DHCT as it builds on its strong reputation.

“Our historic church buildings face many challenges and the trust’s goal is to preserve their heritage and sustain them into the future.

“We are determined that, wherever possible, our churches will be in good rerpair and able to serve the communities in a range of ways.”

DCHT is conservation charity and its main fundraiser is the annual Ride+Stride event in September, in which supporters from nearly 200 churches and chapels are sponsored to visit churches across the county on foot, on a bike or event on a horse.

Last year the event raised more than £85,000, enabling the trust to budget more than £110,000 for grants in the forthcoming year.

Mr Stokoe replaces out-going chairman Simon Pomeroy who, after a long association with the trust, has served as its chairman for the last eight years.

He said: “I have very much enjoyed every moment of my involvement with DHCT.

“I salute the grit and determination of our riders and striders, the enormous generosity of their sponsors and the affection in which Dorset’s churches are held.”

For more information on DHCT, visit