HEATHER’S LEGACY: Coast toy run biggest yet
THE region's motorbike riders are breaking stereotypes and leading the community by example after this year's annual Fraser Coast Toy Run event.
In its seventh year, the Independent Riders Australia fundraiser held special significance as it carried on "Heather's Legacy" in honour of local identity Heather Byers.
Ms Byers passed away in September last year and was the driving force behind the ride.
"She was one of the most beautiful ladies," organiser and director of Independent Riders Fraser Coast Michael Tucker said.
"When she passed away it was felt throughout the biker community. She was seen as an inspiration in terms of being generous and being involved in the community."
With more than 400 registered on the day with three semi-trailers of goods bringing up the rear, this event was the biggest yet.
More than $17,700 was raised for M.A.C.E Wide Bay (Motorcyclists Advocating Child Empowerment), the Fraser Coast Family Network and Our Community Fraser Coast.
The donated toys were given to FCFN to be distributed to families at their Christmas Party and at local respite centres.
Any left over toys will be given to Ronald McDonald House Charities.
"I want to thank everyone who volunteered their time, especially Julie Bellert, it wouldn't have happened without her," Mr Tucker said
As part of the event, IRA ran an art competition and the winner Caroline Minnegal had her work printed on the official Toy Run T-shirts and will be organisation's Disability Ambassador for 2020.
Starting from Maryborough in the morning, participants rode to Hervey Bay before being led by the Rural Fire Brigade to Torbanlea for lunch and entertainment.
"We have a focus on becoming community leaders and 2019 was just the start of it. We have become involved with things which bikers don't normally get involved with," Mr Tucker said..
"Moving into 2020, we are not interested in being the victims of unjust laws, we are community leaders."