Toy run delivers Christmas cheer
WITH a Christmas tree strapped to the back of their motorcycle and a Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer toy singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town at the front, Sue and Geoff Quinn were ready to set off on the annual North Coast Charity Motorcycle Toy Run yesterday.
“We had soft toys hanging from the bike last year, but this year we’ve gone for a Christmas theme,” Mr Quinn, of Alstonville, laughed.
The Quinns’ Can-Am Spyder bike also came equipped with mini-disco lights and tinsel – blending in with more than 200 other decorated bikes, as members of the Northern Rivers branch of the Ulysses Club gathered outside the Seagulls Rugby League Club in Ballina to begin their annual ride through Alstonville, Goonellabah and Lismore to hand out toys to children’s charity groups.
“We mainly ride on the weekends,” Mrs Quinn, a nurse in Lismore, said.
“It gives you a bit of a thrill, the adrenalin gets pumping, but it’s also the social side of things I enjoy; the camaraderie.”
Hundreds of soft toys were collected for the toy run and distributed to Biala Special School, North Coast Children’s Home, Summerland Early Intervention, Wilson Park School, Byron Shire Early Childhood Intervention and Jumbunna Early Intervention.
“This is the 29th year we’ve been doing the toy run,” organiser and Ulysses member Ron Gaudron said.
“I remember the first one we did. We gave the kids toys and a ride on the bikes – the kids had a ball and it’s just grown bigger and bigger each year.
“It’s something to give back to people. People are doing it tough right now and it’s getting harder if you have kids.”
Helping out for hervery first toy ride was Lynn Olivieri, who works for Lismore Motorcycles.
“One of our customers asked me to get involved and then I was asked to be Santa’s helper,” she said.
To get into the spirit of the job Ms Olivieri sewed her own costume and dyed her hair red.
“It’s all about getting out and socialising and doing something good for people,” she said.
“They might look like toughies, but the riders here are all lovely guys. Having a tattoo doesn’t mean anything.”