A beloved annual charity event has fallen victim to COVID-19.
The Newcastle Toy Run, which was supposed to celebrate its 43rd edition, has been cancelled due to the pandemic.
The event draws huge crowds every December as more than 10,000 motorbikes roar into Newcastle to spread goodwill and put smiles on children’s faces.
In 2018, a Superheroes theme helped raise an estimated $96,000 in cash and gift donations, with 4,000 families aided through support from the Salvation Army.
Its success then inspired last year’s Costume for Kids concept.
Bikers for Kids Newcastle Toy Run President, Daryn Young, said the event was critical to the group’s fundraising efforts.
“[It’s] 100% important, without the fundraising side of it, there are no presents for the kids,” he said.
“The donations are cash and presents, that’s what we’re all about.”
Mr Young became Bikers for Kids Newcastle Toy Run Chairperson in 2017, and participated in his first toy run all the way back in 1986.
He said complications caused by COVID-19 and government restrictions had forced organisers to pump the brakes on this year’s event.
“COVID threw us a curveball,” Mr Young said.
“The biking community does so much for charity across Newcastle and Australia, [and] so many riding events have been cancelled due to COVID.”
Despite the event’s cancellation, Mr Young said it was always “the biggest run of the year”, and hoped to bring it back bigger and better next year.
Bikers for Kids is still raising funds for the Salvation Army to distribute, with donations being made through the group’s website.
Mr Young added the group was also trying to organise drop off points for the public.
“We keep updating our website, so keep an eye on it,” he said.
There is also a chance to win a new bike for Christmas by entering Bikers for Kids’ great motorcycle raffle. Tickets cost $5 each and are available here.