Santa left his red sled in the shed
THIRTY years ago a bikie called Santa visited the North Coast Children's Home to deliver Christmas gifts - and proved that underneath the rough and tough exterior was a big softie.
Three decades later and that Santa is still organising the annual North Coast Charity Motorcycle Toy Run but is now joined by close to 300 riders who make the annual pilgrimage from Ballina to Goonellabah, picking up donated toys along the way to deliver to the 2LM Children's Christmas Appeal.
Organiser Ron Gaudron remembers the first toy run in 1981.
"We were assigned a child to buy a Christmas gift for," Mr Gaudron said.
"The boy I was assigned to was eight years old and we got him a model ship.
"He liked the present, but what was even more exciting was discovering Santa had tattoos when my sleeves lifted up as I was reaching into the gift sack."
Each year the North Coast Charity Motorcycle Toy Run collects gifts to be distributed to kids in need across the region, and 30 years on the effort is still worth it, Mr Gaudron said.
"This is what Christmas is really about," he said. "To think about giving to others.
The only glitch this year was missing out on riding through Alstonville because of the safety of turning off the new bypass, Mr Gaudron said.
"We love the Alstonville ride, and next year when the Bruxner Hwy interchange is finished we hope to ride through Alstonville again."