London Toy Ride a day late, but still great.

by The Salvation Army in Canada

Sunday, September 22, 2013 – Story by Mike Maloney, courtesy London Community News

It may be three more months until Christmas, but the season of giving was definitely on the mind of those taking part in the 30th anniversary edition of the London Toy Ride on Sunday (Sept. 22).

Close to 120 participants either driving or riding on an estimated 85 motorcycles, participated in the annual event, something that the Salvation Army’s Perron Goodyear said is often referred to as the unofficial kickoff to the festive season and the organization’s Christmas Hamper program.

“It starts the ball rolling as far as getting those much needed toys so that we can get them to make sure that no kid in our city goes without a toy this Christmas,” said Goodyear.

Originally scheduled for Saturday (Sept. 21), a combination of weather and road conditions forced the ride to be delayed until Sunday.

“We absolutely love the riders coming out. This year, I am actually more pleased that they have come out because yesterday we had to postpone the ride,” something that was unprecedented in its 30-year history, said organizer Steve Brighton.

Not certain on how many would show up the second day, Brighton was more than happy with the turnout adding that it shows dedication by the riders to the community.

That dedication did not go unnoticed by Ellen Smit, one of the riders taking part on Sunday and a member of the Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club. Notably, she was also involved with the Blue Knights when they joined with two other local clubs — the Retreads and Two Seater Tours — in organizing London’s first Toy Ride.

“Thirty years later and to see it’s still going strong, that’s spectacular,” said Smit.

But in the end, for everyone involved with the ride, it is all about the kids.

“We are so grateful to the organizers, the volunteers and all the participants that either bring toys or make a donation,” said Goodyear. “It’s so heartwarming to see that kind of generosity, year in and year out.”


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