Almost 10,000 motorbikes bursting with Christmas spirit have cruised from Stockton to Wickham so riders could watch thousands of Christmas presents, donated for kids in need, fill nearly an entire semi-trailer.
Organisers of the Bikers for Kids Newcastle Toy Run have hailed this year’s donation drive as a monumental success, as the charity event marks its 40th birthday.
There was no short supply of tinsel or Santa hats as thousands of street machines – from postie bikes, dirt bikes and road bikes to three-wheeled beasts – rang in the holiday season for a worthy cause on Sunday.
“Everyone’s got their heart in the right spot – they do it for the right cause, it’s for the kids, so that creates the [event’s] longevity,” chairman Daryn Young said.
“To have a kid go without opening a present on Christmas morning, it shouldn’t be heard of.
“I think that’s what drives everything.”
The event raises money and collects donations of Christmas presents for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal.
The aim is to provide disadvantaged families across Newcastle and the Hunter region who would otherwise go without on Christmas day.
“We are immensely grateful for the generous support provided by this iconic event and the many thousands of riders that take part,” Salvos’ divisional social liaison officer Major Christine Martin wrote in a message on the Bikers for Kids website.
“Through the donation of funds and toys, we are able to directly assist local families in their time of need and we simply couldn't do this without Bikers For Kids and community support.”
Everyone’s got their heart in the right spot – they do it for the right cause, it’s for the kids.Daryn Young, chairman
Lisa Paul and her partner Patrick Blackman braved the warm weather to dress as Queen Elsa and Olaf the Snowman from the popular film Frozen.
The effort earned the Wallsend couple the title of this year’s best dressed – and a trophy to match.
“We sort of try to outdo each other with the bikes, to have the best looking bike,” Ms Paul said of the couple’s competitive nature.
“A lot of local riders – we’re all in social groups on Facebook – meet for weekend rides, so there’s a little bit of rivalry when we all turn up on our bikes.
“It’s for a good cause and it’s great to be able to give back to the community.
“We’re not big bad bike people – we’re really friendly, loving people and we like to give. It was such a euphoric feeling to see all the gifts being lifted up into the truck.”