Toy run's focus set to change

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 05:00 15/04/2014

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The Child Cancer Foundation has told the motorcyclists of the Ulysses Club it will no longer accept soft toys from its long-lived Toy Run event.

The foundation's Waikato business development and fundraising manager, Sharon Robertson, met with the Waikato branch of the motorcycle club after it emerged rubbish bag loads of toys collected on the run had been dumped after this year's event on March 2.

Robertson offered to meet club members in an apologetic email after the Waikato Times published photographs of the toys.

"We are terribly sorry that this whole event has occurred," Robertson said in the email.

"I thought it best not to leave it to fester with your members."

Robertson told the Times the motorcycle club was supportive of the foundation and intended to continue with the toy run, albeit in a different form.

"There will be changes to the event, as in what is accepted and what is not," Robertson said.

"We never asked for soft toys and won't be accepting soft toys going forward."

Foundation public relations and communications manager Megan Horsburgh previously told the Times the bin liners full of toys were a "health risk" for children undergoing chemotherapy.

"They smelt like mothballs and weren't safe."

Robertson said next year's toy run, which will be the 30th, would have a different focus.

"It will be more focusing on fundraising and a few extras," she said. "What will be advertised around the event is games, puzzles and toys. We are going to look more to what the children want."

"Children are different to what they were 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. We are going to have to sit down and get the wording [of what we want] right. It's going to be positive."

"The bikes will still have toys on them, the bike riders love the big toys on their bikes."

Robertson said changes were being considered before pictures of the toys being dumped were published.

This year's event raised $13,000 in aid of the foundation, a few thousand dollars more than usual.

Waikato Ulysses Club secretary Athol Thompson confirmed changes were afoot.

"We are still doing it," he said.

"They assured us that they won't be dumping toys again. We are going to change the wording of things but it will still incorporate the toy run because it's the 30th one next year.

"Some riders have toys especially for their bikes."

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- Waikato Times

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