The Christmas spirit was alive and well on Sunday December 9 as the 11th Annual Midlands Motorbike Toy Run roared through Longford town full of cheer and good will.
The Toy Run was organised by local businessmen and long time fellow motorbike enthusiasts, Frank Kane and Billy Beahan, who decided 11 years ago to use their passion for motorbikes to bring some cheer to the children's ward in Mullingar Hospital and Bethany House Women's and Children's Refuge in Longford Town.
Since then, on a Sunday before Christmas every year, their motorbike friends from all over gather in Robinstown Mullingar and, led by Santy and their mascot, local girl Linda 'The Triker' McGee on their motor trikes, they visit the children's ward in Mullingar Hospital where their Biker Santy delivers each child a present and some Christmas treats donated by the bikers.
Then, with a special Garda motor bike escort, Santy, Mrs Claus and their mascot lead the Bikers to Longford.
This year, there were 135 Motorbikes that roared, in a festive procession, through Longford on their way to Bethany House on the edge of town.
Here, their Santy again deliverd toys and gifts to the children.
Teresa Gilchriest of Bethany House was presented with almost €1,500 donated on the day by the bikers.
Store rooms in both the children's ward and in Bethany House are filled with extra toys and gifts for the children who might be there over the Christmas period.
These gifts can also be used throughout the year to brighten a Childs birthday or special occasion.
Mags of the Children's ward and Teresa Gilchriest of Bethany House both agree they love the Toy Run.
Mags said it brings such fun and laughter to the ward and they look forward to it every year.
Teresa went on to say: “It is not only the much needed cash donation and all the toys and gifts donated by the Toy Run that is appreciated, but the continued moral support they feel from the bikers that is so special.”
Joe Finnegan of St Martha's Men's Hostel next door to Bethany House agreed with Teresa and expressed his gratitude to the Bikers as St Martha's also receive presents for the men in St Martha's from the Toy Run.
Frank Kane and Billy Beahan both thanked their fellow bikers for their support and generosity yet again.