The annual motorcycle toy run, organised by the Reading Christian Motorcyclists, in its 31st year, took place on Sunday 4th December 2016.
Last year around 2,500 participants on 1,600 motorbikes travelled from Foster Wheeler’s in Reading to the Barnardo’s High Close School in Wokingham to deliver an incredible mountain of gifts for the pupils and this year’s turnout looks likely to be similar. The route was closed to other traffic and lined with enthusiastic crowds delighting in the sight of so many motor bikes with both riders and frames decked out in fantastic Christmas decorations.
Berkshire Freemasons made a great contribution to the day, with 13 members of the Thames Valley Motor Cycle Lodge acting as marshals, and other members riding in the procession. Other members came with their families and walked key parts of the route with Barnardo’s collecting buckets which they managed to fill with the amazing total of £1,503.73!
Dressed in hi-viz “Freemasonry in the Community” tabards, the bucket collectors and their families were hard to miss and at High Close school. Freemasons and their wives were part of the team frantically receiving and stacking the phenomenal number of gifts so generously given.
Jan Eldon said “The location was a great spot for us as there were many families out to see the motorcycle ride toy run and pretty much everyone took the opportunity to hand over anything from a few coins to notes to go in our collection buckets and receive a sticker from the children. The crowds were already gathering at 1:45 pm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the bikes…. and what an amazing sight it was, accompanied by the continual roar of various cc engines, to see so many well decorated machines and fabulous costumes of the riders, with countless Santas, elves, reindeers or just their antlers, toy story characters, Shaun the Sheep, Minions, Star Wars, more Santas, muppets, bears, Winnie the Pooh, snowmen, even more Santas, a couple of storm troopers, and many more. It was very worthwhile to see how much effort had been made by a great many people to participate as well as to attend to cheer on and wave, all reflecting the good spirit and positive feeling shared in supporting this great cause”.
This was the first time that the Berkshire Freemasons have participated with Barnardo’s in fund raising and in receiving the gifts. We were delighted to be invited and will certainly support this event in the future. All participants earned valuable hours towards their Lodge’s 300 Hours Initiative target and many thanks to Jim Sampins, Jan Eldon, Rupert Waldron, Mark Heppelthwaite and their families, David Lawrenson and David Biggs and their wives, along with Peter Sullivan, Paul Byron, Gary Townsend, Bob De Lacy and the members of the Thames Valley Motorcycle Lodge coordinated by Neil Harvey.
In past years Berkshire Freemasons have been involved with marshalling the run, but the work with Barnardo’s is down to the initiative taken by Wayne Daley who works for Barnardo’s and who is a new member of Bearwood Lodge. He started the programme off and is already making a great contribution to the Lodge. Well done Wayne!
The BBC was filming the Toy Run and they expect the footage to be broadcast on Songs of Praise on Sunday 11th December.