Bikers are revved with success after riding their way into the record books and children’s good books thanks to the 29th Reading Toy Run.
The toy run, held on Sunday, December 7, saw kind-hearted bikers from across the country converge on Reading and Wokingham to give thousands and thousands of presents to Barnardo’s children, via High Close School.
The bikers decorated their bikes with tinsel and other Christmas decorations and some also dressed up, including a couple who went as characters from Frozen and members of the Basingstoke Motorcycle Rider Group who dressed as superheroes.
This year’s run was extra special as it was a world record attempt in honour of Sandy, the principal of High Close School for many years.
Writing in a blog post on the Toy Run’s website, organiser Ben Spiller noted: “He was the one who many years previous, had opened the school to a bunch of bikers to bring their gifts and enthusiastically saw the occasion grow and set up the distribution of gifts around an increasing number of projects.
“This year’s world record setting attempt was to honour his memory and show our appreciation to Sandy’s family. Quite simply the Reading Toy Run would not be what it is without Sandy’s openness and welcome.”
To verify the record attempt, bikers were handed wristbands on arrival at Foster Wheeler in Shinfield, off Lower Earley Way. When they arrived at High Close School in Wokingham, the bikers handed over their wristbands to Guinness World Record adjudicator Mark McKinley for counting.
The official total was 1,735 participants who took part in the whole ride and presented a toy. There were an additional 592 people accompanying or, as Ben notes in his blog, “brought other gifts such as football shirts, vouchers, iPods or other gadgets – all of which are needed, but for the purposes of the record it was specifically toys that counted.”
Ben is also delighted at the way in which the bikers have responded to the record attempt, knowing that the gifts will make a big difference to the lives of children who live in Barnardo’s homes.
He noted: “Thank you so much to everyone that took part in what became a world record setting occasion … Your participation and generosity is greatly appreciated.”