Organisers ‘overwhelmed’ by response to Toy Run appeal

Service by Emergency Rider  Volunteers (SERV) team up with West Sussex Bikers' Motorcycle Club to deliver Toys to Sussex Children in Hospital over Christmas.

Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-151228-090633001
Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers (SERV) team up with West Sussex Bikers' Motorcycle Club to deliver Toys to Sussex Children in Hospital over Christmas. Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-151228-090633001

More than 140 bikers from across East and West Sussex will be hitting the road for the third annual Christmas Toy Run.

Motorcyclists will be out on the streets of Sussex tomorrow (Saturday, December 17) to deliver Christmas presents to children and staff at children’s wards at the Conquest, the Eastbourne DGH, the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.

Organisers were expecting 90 bikers to answer their appeal for Christmas elves - but the response has left them overwhelmed.

Riders from Sussex Bikers, Bexhill Bikers, Armed Forces Bikers, 1066 Bikers and East Sussex Advanced Motorcyclists, which is part of the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists, have signed up for the run.

They will be joined by volunteers from the SERV Sussex Blood Bikes.

Russ Green from Hastings is a SERV Sussex volunteer and the brains behind the toy run.

Although the finer details of the run were still being ironed out as the Observer went to press, the East Sussex bikers are expected to meet at Wessons Café in Horam at 9am.

Bikers will travel round the various drop-off points in their part of Sussex and then head to Brighton, before splitting up and heading back to their respective counties.

The toy run is expected to finish at 2pm in the West and 3pm in the East.

Russ said that while last year’s event was a more last-minute affair, this year has been just as much about making the ride one to remember for those taking part.

He said: “This time round I wanted to try and maximise what was coming in and we have tried to split the rides into different pick ups and a central meeting point but trying to mix everybody up at some point so we can have some fun.”

Some bikers will be dressed as Father Christmas and elves, while others will be dressing up their bikes for the ride.

Although it is not yet known how many toys and gifts will be whizzing their way over to the wards tomorrow, Russ believes donors have dug deep for the cause.

He said: “Until the day I won’t know but I’m expecting quite a lot.

“We have probably got a small car full of donations from Worthing College (which chose SERV Sussex as its charity of the year).

“They did quite well.”

He added: “The people of Sussex have been incredible in their generosity.

“I would like to say thank you to everyone who has donated.

“And thank you to everyone taking part in the ride.”

Anyone wishing to take part in the toy run should contact Russ via the ‘Xmas Toy Run’ Facebook group.

• It’s not too late to donate to the Christmas Toy Run.

Organisers are seeking clean, unwrapped presents for both active and bed-bound children, plus chocolates for staff on the wards.

Donations can be left at: Route 1066 Cafe (A21, Johns Cross), Wesson’s Cafe (Horam), Whiteways Cafe (Bury Hill, Arundel), Hummingbird Cafe (Shoreham Airport) and Destination Triumph (Whiteways Roundabout, near Arundel).

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