ACT News

Sleighs full of toys donated by generous rider at the annual Toy Run

What's better than a sleigh full of toys for the needy?

For Holt couple Lin and Graeme Barber, transforming their ride to look like a sleigh and dressing up as Mr and Mrs Claus at the Motorcycle Riders Association of the Australian Capital Territory Toy Run is something they look forward to each year.

Lin and Graeme Barber of Holt take part in the Motorcycle Riders Association of the Australian Capital Territory annual ...
Lin and Graeme Barber of Holt take part in the Motorcycle Riders Association of the Australian Capital Territory annual Toy Run at Old Parliament House. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

The pair was among 950 riders to attend the 35th annual event held on Saturday.

While not everyone spotted former senator Kate Lundy in the motorcade across Commonwealth Bridge, not many missed the Barbers in their bright red Gold Wing Trike hooked up to a sleigh covered in LED lights and tinsel.

"We have brought a sleigh on the toy run for the past six years," she said. "My husband just loves Christmas."

Mr Barber drives the Santa bus for ACTION, is dedicated to creating awe-inspiring Christmas decorations on his home and faithfully grows his beard and hair each year to look like the jolly man in red.

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"He has had a Santa suit up until last year that was cotton and a lot cooler but he decided he wanted a proper Santa suit, fully lined and made of red and white fur which he sweated to death in," she joked.

"We drive around and see people point us out, smile and laugh. That pays for it for us - spreading the cheer."

With grown-up kids, the two enjoy buying toys to donate each year spending an average of $300 every time.

"We gave three scooters, four fishing rod, line and tackle sets, dolls, trucks, colouring books - you name it," she said.

MRA ACT president Jen Woods said each year she was astonished by what was given and proud the community of riders give back to the wider community.

Riders dressed as elves, Santas or Santa's helpers were joined this year by a group of stand-up paddle boarders who made their way across the lake to drop gifts off too.

Along with a huge pile of toys, which will be distributed to children and teens by the Salvation Army, more than $4000 in cash donations collected will be sent to St John's Care.

"There were plenty of toys for little ones, but there were also gift cards which are great for teens too," she said. "Every year it is just such a lovely event with such a great atmosphere," Ms Woods said.