Toys galore and smiles for many

SUPPORT. Gannawarra Memorial Toy run organisers, Heather Hensley, left, Fr Simon Robinson, John Webb, Lieza Webb and Jan Webb.

SUPPORT. Gannawarra Memorial Toy run organisers, Heather Hensley, left, Fr Simon Robinson, John Webb, Lieza Webb and Jan Webb.

ROARING engines around the district on Saturday heralded the latest charitable effort by many people to support fellow residents leading up to Christmas.

Many children who would have otherwise gone without will be recipients of toys and individuals and families are set to receive hampers.

Motorcyclists and classic car and truck enthusiasts headed out from Kerang on Saturday morning on the third annual Gannawarra Memorial Toy Run.

Nearly 200 cars, trucks, and motorcycles were involved.

Before revving their engines, drivers and riders were fed by Lions Club of Kerang members, who provided breakfast in the shopping centre.Drivers then headed through Murrabit and Barham, where they enjoyed sausage rolls and biscuits donated by the Barham Bakery, before finishing in Garden Park at Cohuna. Another group started at Leitchville.

Donations of toys and money were collected along the way, and the event finale included a show and shine competition, a barbecue lunch courtesy of the Lions Club of Cohuna, refreshments from the Anglican Parish of Cohuna, and live music from local musicians Neville and Kathy Hird.

Motorcyclist Natalie Bedford has been involved in all three annual toy runs. 

"It's a good cause, it's for the kids - how could you not do it?" she said.

Ben Timms, also a rider since the event's inauguration, said it was all about helping out.

"It's great to help out kids and families who don't have much going for them. It can be a hard time of year," he said.

The donations collected will go into Christmas hampers and will be delivered to families determined to be in need in mid-December.

Event and hamper organiser Heather Hensley said that last year 360 hampers were delivered to families.

"We rely on organisations, churches, schools, and the wider community to nominate the names of people they want to bless [with a hamper]," she said. 

Anglican priest, Fr Simon Robinson said the event was "for anyone identified as needing a smile put on on their face".

Fr Robinson said that last year a big focus was on dairy farmers who had been doing it tough throughout the Murray Goulburn milk price issues.

It will be unclear how much was raised this year until the organisers can count the tally, but organizer Lieza Webb said that they had filled the tray of a utility truck with toys.

Other donations came from merchandise and barbecue fund-raising on the day.

OUTING: Central Murray Ulysses Club members Russell Arnett, left, Steve Hovenden, Tassie Taylor, and Wes Ewart supported the toy run.

OUTING: Central Murray Ulysses Club members Russell Arnett, left, Steve Hovenden, Tassie Taylor, and Wes Ewart supported the toy run.

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