RIDING FOR FUN: Don Cook from the Salvation Army and John Smith from Smithy's just Cruisin' Autos prepare for this year's toy run in Bundaberg.
RIDING FOR FUN: Don Cook from the Salvation Army and John Smith from Smithy's just Cruisin' Autos prepare for this year's toy run in Bundaberg. Paul Donaldson BUN241116TOY1

These guys are Bundaberg's real Santas

THEY'VE earned the nickname "the dynamic duo" after 22 years of providing Christmas joy to families across the region.

The team is equal parts Salvation Army Bundaberg chaplain Don Cook and Smithy's Just Cruisin' Autos owner John Smith.

Their story goes back to 1994 when the Salvation Army desperately needed someone to partner with them for the toy run and Mr Smith stepped up to the challenge.

"I was asked and came forward and I've been doing it ever since," Mr Smith said.

"I organise the motorcyclists, the Salvos do their bit.

"This is mine and Don Cook's 22nd year of doing the toy run in Bundaberg."

Next Saturday, the pair will lead the way once again as bikers from across the region gather on the annual Salvation Army Motorcycle Toy Run.

When it comes to bringing joy to children, Mr Smith said there was no discrimination whether you rode a Harley or a postie bike.

"All motorcycles are welcome," he said.

"It doesn't matter what motorcycle you drive."

Mr Smith said the day would be filled with festive cheer.

"We encourage the riders that partake to dress up their motorcycles and they can actually tie a present they're going to donate to the Salvos to their motorcycle," he said.

"Everybody's welcome, it's a family event."

Mr Smith said he couldn't put a number on the children the appeal has helped over the years, but was expecting to be able to once again half-fill a Salvation Army truck.

"We usually get 150-200 motorcycles on the day," he said.

"Sometimes there can be up to 500 people that congregate."

Mr Smith also had one important reminder for anyone joining the ride or donating gifts.

"Don't forget about the teenagers," he said.

Mr Smith said while donations of toys for small children were always appreciated, teenagers were often forgotten.

He suggested gifts such as footballs, cricket sets and skateboards for older children.

On the day

Event: Saturday, December 3

9am: Riders leave the Basin at Bargara and ride to Kendalls Flat

9.30am: Leave Kendalls Flat and ride through the CBD where locals can give the riders and wave and a cheer

10am: Gift hand-over at the Sugarland car park where non-bike riders can also donate gifts


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