The Reading Toy Run usually attracts over 1,600 motorcycles riding in procession to Barnardo’s School at High Close, Wokingham. The toys, donated by the bikers, get distributed to children at Bernardo’s and a number of local children’s charities.
The Toy Run is now in its 35th year and holds the Guinness Record for the largest Motorcycle Toy Run in the world. Covid-19 restrictions meant the Toy Run could not happen as normal. However, organisers were determined that it would go ahead as the needs of the children are greater than ever in the current circumstances.
Organiser Denis Denmead said, instead of being a Toy Run, it would be a “Toy Dump” so that bikers could still donate their gifts safely.
High Close School was too small to receive a large number of visitors safely so the Chief Marshal, Steve Harris from Sons of Kendrick Masonic Lodge in Reading, arranged for Sindlesham and Wokingham Masonic Centres to help out.
Bikers were able to use the car parks to deliver the toys and warm up at the temporary “Bikers Café” set up by volunteers.
Over 300 bikers arrived at the Masonic Centres and the school, which was much less than normal, but the number of toys and gifts was exceptional.
A JustGiving page has been setup to receive donations where toys or gift are not possible. It will continue to run over Christmas and proceeds will provide additional facilities for the pupils of High Close School.
As well as taking part in the ride, members of the Thames Valley Motorcycle Lodge, Buckinghamshire Motorcycle Lodge and Thames Vale Advanced Motorcyclists helped out with marshalling duties.
RWBro. Anthony Howlett-Bolton OBE said “Reading Christian Bikers have done a wonderful job organising the Toy Run for many years and our members have enjoyed supporting as marshals. I am delighted that we were able to make our facilities available to support our community in these difficult times.”
Toy Run organiser Steven Harris said, “From the Reading Toy Run Committee, we would like to thank everyone involved, and we wish you a very happy and joyful Christmas and New Year.”
Article posted in the Reading Chronicle on Wednesday 30th December 2020: