Thousands of motorcyclists showed up in mass for this year's Reading Toy Run.

A staple in the town’s Christmas calendar for over 38 years, the long-running charity ride attracts motorcyclists from across the Thame’s Valley and beyond.

The charity event, organised by Barnardo's, was created to help and support vulnerable children, young people, and families throughout the Christmas period.

Participants set off around 2 pm and made their way to the meeting place at High Close School in Wokingham where they met all the Barnardo's volunteers.

Each biker brought with them a toy which will be distributed to local charities and children in need this Christmas across the Wokingham area.   

Chief Marshall, Stephen Harris spoke to the Reading Chronicle as they congregated at Wood PLC. He said: “Normally we get around 1700 motorcycles turning up. I have spent weeks building up to this day and my payback is just going into the hall and seeing all those toys which will help so many children.

“Our bikers are between the ages of five and 72 years old and it’s just so heart warming to see everyone out taking part in this special annual event.

“The effort people go to is amazing. There are whole bikes that look like sleighs and these people spend weeks and weeks before the run preparing the bikes and the costumes. It really is quite gratifying to see them put so much effort in.”

The Reading Toy Run was founded originally by Ben Spiller who first instigated the event over 38 years ago for Barnardo's High Close School.

Although Ben passed away in 2021, his friends and family said that they are dedicated to keeping his legacy alive.

Gill McKernan, 66, worked at the school for 35 years and has been heavily involved in fundraising at the Toy Run every year.

She said: “The whole idea of the toy run has spread so it’s not just for High Close School anymore. It’s amazing because it helps a whole community and ensures that children don’t go without for Christmas.

“We help charities mainly in the Wokingham area but we do extend out. Especially this year, we’ve had a lot of requests and there are more families in need.”

Thirty volunteers were on call to collect the toys from participants and the four collection points across Berkshire.

She added: “Without them, the day couldn’t have happened. The hall was set up and decorated yesterday by members of staff at the school. Lots of people put a lot of work into the day happening.

"Today is going to make such an impact on young people in the area. The generosity of people has just been incredible.

“Especially now with the cost of living crisis, there are so many people that aren’t going to have a very nice Christmas. Knowing that we can help alleviate that is so heartening.”