Red Knights gear up for annual toy run

Robert Kincald, Shane Parker, Neville McKenzie and Andy Young are preparing for the 24th Keith Hamilton Toy Run, where the Red Knights chapter will raise money and collect gifts and food for disadvantaged children.

Josh Farrell

The stereotype of motorcycle riders is that they’re big, tough, hairy and scary.

The Red Knights are all of those things, but also, they’re soft at heart. The local bikers are on a mission to help make sure local disadvantaged children enjoy a better Christmas.

This year will be the 24th ride for the Keith Hamilton Toy Run, where the Red Knights chapter raises money and collects gifts and food for underprivileged children.

Keith Hamilton began the fundraising event 24 years ago, which was taken over by well known local identity Ian Kennedy, who ran it for 19 years until he died tragically in a car

The Red Knights stepped up to continue Mr Hamilton and Mr Kennedy’s legacy.

The group estimates that last year was its best yet — it raised the greatest amount of money in the run’s history.

Club president Andy Young is excited for this year’s toy run, scheduled for Saturday, December 11, and is hopeful the Gippsland community can once again rally around and support it.

“This time of year they [charities] are always looking for items, so we just want to help as much as we can,” Mr Young said.

The club is looking for donations of children’s toys, non-perishable food, children’s clothes, gift cards and cash donations.

“Try and donate toys for children between the ages of five and 12 — we get lots of soft toys, so try and diversify,” Mr Young suggested.

People will be able to donate at specific stores around Sale, such as GJ Gardener Homes and Sale Motorcycles.

Esso Australia has already committed $5000 to the fundraising, and some local business
have provided prizes for a raffle, including a watch, a barbecue and a line trimmer.

Last year’s run had about 60 participants, and they will ride from the Sale clocktower at 9am to Maffra Men’s Shed at 11.30am, and then back into the main part of town where they will award their raffle winners at 12.15pm.

Toy run donations are distributed directly to Wellington Shire families by the Salvation Army and Vinnies.