OUR CHAIRMAN: DARYN YOUNG
Daryn's first Toy Run was in 1986. As a teenager he accompanied his father Big John Young on the run that at the time consisted of only 80 bikes. He remembers riding down Maitland Road without a helmet and some of The Originals by his side. As his father’s passion for the Toy Run grew so did his own. After having children of his own that passion grew even greater.
‘I still get the same feeling each year as I did on that first ride.’
Since that first ride Daryn has become more involved over the years, in 2014 he took a more active role in the organisation before becoming a full board member in 2014. Daryn is carrying the family legacy, which saw him take on the role of Chairman in 2018
‘I’m stoked and overwhelmed to have been given this opportunity – I’ve got big shoes to fill but I’m very excited to continue to grow the Toy Run.’
The last ten years has seen a ten-fold increase in the participants of the Toy Run, which now sits at approximately 10,000 bikes per year.
‘We’ve had people fly from Darwin and ride up from Melbourne. I often hear of people getting their bike license just so they can take part in the Toy Run.’
Growing up in a family who was always into motorcycles, Daryn has also witnessed the way the Toy Run has changed the perception of bikers in his community, the annual event challenging stereotypes and proving that the motorcycle community is made up from all walks of life. It is a community characterised by it’s strong desire to give back.
‘It’s proven we have big hearts and as a community we are connected in a passion to help others.’
The most important aspect for Daryn however is always the kids. He describes handing over of large donations to the Salvation Army as one of the most rewarding moments of his time with the Toy Run.
‘I grew up in a single mother family so I know how tough it can be at this time of year for people. Knowing that we have the ability to help so many children throughout the Hunter who are in need is an absolute rush. It’s why we keep doing what we are doing’
As Daryn looks to the future, he hopes to inspire his children and grandchildren to involve themselves. He is also keen continue to expand the awareness of the Newcastle Toy Run and through the Bikers For Kids initiative expand activities like the Tinned Food and Blanket Ride and Bikers Memorial Ride to support other charites.
‘We are going to be making a lot more noise over the coming years.’
STEPHEN MEEK: TREASURER
Stephen has ridden in over 20 Newcastle Toy Runs since his return to Newcastle for a long exile in Sydney (he did a couple there too but “they don’t compare”) Stephen joined the committee in 2014 after quite a few years in the background.
The Toy Run had him hooked from day one back them from Sandgate Markets to the foreshore. Moving into organisational and planning roles and pushing the social media aspect of promotion. Being the “retired” member of the committee, he is hands on in many aspects of the day to day. Ask him why?
"a simple and pleasurable way to give back to the community."
He has been an avid rider since his childhood in Muswellbrook, paddock bashing on friends farms and the local Common on a wide variety of machines from Bantams to widow maker CZ motocross weapons.
Why does he love motorcycling so much? It's the "freedom, the mobility, the camaraderie and the risk" all wrapped up into one.
CHRIS TOLA: VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
Chris had been a Toy Run rider for several years before joining the committee, He has been involved in the motorcycle community in a number of rolls over the years while at the City of Newcastle Council, the Tidy Towns initiative, and in his subsequent roll with Transport for NSW driving rider education efforts for new and older riders.
Chris also moderates a diverse and active ride group, has published work on his other passion, Surfing, and continues to advocate for the community on many levels.
Chris keeps coming back for a "great day out celebrating all that is good in Australia, and highlighting the need to help out those that are not going so good. The diversity of motorcycles, riders and spectators reflects our society so well and shows that it takes all kinds to make a world!"
CHRIS HIRST: VICE CHAIMAN
Chris is Newcastle through and through, from his early days at Newcastle Uni and BHP and lifelong involvement in motorcycling to longtime management and ownership of Kawasaki of Newcastle sponsoring and supporting Th Newcastle Toy Run all the way. Chris joined the Bikers For Kids committee several years ago adding his business and management skills to our team. Chris is also a successful vigneron of Bishop Grove wines and holds an unlimited pilots licence providing the yearly rider prize winner with an eagle eye view of our region.
BRIAN BIRKEFELD: ALLROUND GOOD GUY
Brian’s expertise covers an amazing range of fields. Accomplished Motorcyclist, Trail blazing adventure rider. Master of Ceremonies extraordinaire, Playwright, Author, Musician (yes the Banjo is an instrument). Graphic Designer, Printer, Tidy Towns official, Actor, Distinguished Alumni of The University of Newcastle, BBQ chef. Truly a man for all seasons. Brain is an invaluable contributor to the ongoing success of the toy run.