In 1981 some local members of the Motorcycle Riders Association had an idea - collect cash and soft toys and distribute them to needy kids for Christmas. The Toy Run was born.
Thirty years later and the Toy Run is going strong. During its long life it has been organised by various motorbike clubs, bike shops and organisations. Six years ago the Northern Rivers Branch of the Ulysses Club took it over.
The North Coast Children's Charity Motorcycle Toy Run will celebrate its 30th anniversary this Sunday, December 4. The bikes will rumble from Ballina to Lismore with their fluffy cargo of toys.
Bikes and riders will assemble at the Ballina Seagulls Rugby League Grounds at 8am. Everyone is invited along with the Ballina Lions Club cooking up bacon and egg rolls. Riders with a motorbike are invited to join the run with a trophy for best decorated bike. (It is Christmas after all.)
The bikes will leave Ballina at 10am and arrive at the Harold Federicks Car Park in Dawson Street, Lismore, about half an hour later, where the Lismore Lions will have a sausage sizzle and drinks. There's also raffles and prizes.
Ron Gaudron, who organised the event this year, was Santa back in 1981. (Yes, that's him in the sidecar.)
"We normally get between 150 and 250 riders but this year we're hoping to get 300 or more but it just depends on the weather," Ron said. "We have many of the riders from that original run back in '81 riding this year. They'll be behind Santa leading the ride."
Ron won't be donning the beard and the red suit this year. And Santa won't be unhelmeted in a sidecar either.
"No, no. Santa won't be in a sidecar this year, he'll be on the back of a new Can-Am Spider donated by Ongmac," Ron said. "We take all the toys to 2LM after the run and they distribute them for us to the kids," he said. "If there's toys left over they get sent to farm kids out west. The money collected gets split between the six beneficiaries."
The Toy Run's beneficiaries are Biala Special School, North Coast Children's Home, Summerland Early Intervention, Wilson Park School, Byron Shire Early Childhood Intervention, and Jumbunna Early Intervention.
Cash and soft toys will be accepted during the day at Ballina and Lismore. Or toys can be dropped off at Bunnings.