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Father Bob goes bush

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

By Pam Kiriakidis

BROADFORD’S State Motorcycle Sports Complex was home to this year’s Toy Run for the Father Bob Maguire Foundation, which ensures families and children across the state receive Christmas gifts.

For the past 20 years, the Father Bob Maguire Foundation has opened their services to many families, gifting presents and offering food relief through their community pantry.

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A former Catholic priest, Father Bob is a community worker based in Melbourne, and has helped Victorian families for more than a decade.

At the December 4 event, motorcyclists departed from Morgan and Wacker Harley Davidson in Epping, adorned with decorations.

The event was organised by individual motorcycle riders in partnership with Orange Knights Motorcycle Club, which was formed by State Emergency Service members.

Orange Knights Motorcycle Club SES members interacting with Father Bob at the annual toy run in Broadford. ​

Attendees at Broadford also included visitors for the sidecar intro day by the Sidecar Racing Club of Victoria, who donated items for children aged eight to 12.   

Motorcyclists took a lap around the track for the annual parade, which Father Bob described as a ‘natural amphitheatre’.

“Broadford is an entertainment centre, it’s got its own amphitheatre … where bikers and riders might like to assemble from all over the place in Victoria and elsewhere,” he said.

Father Bob said the toy run united people in friendship and entertainment, which he said the world needed now.  

“I remember I used to think of what an epic event it was for people to come from all places, all over the state and elsewhere to assemble in a spot that was already well known for its entertainment,” he said.  

“[It’s] very important people come out and come together … they might even form friendships and that’s what the world needs right now is friends, we need more friends.”  

Toy run organiser Cate, who has been involved for 10 years, said part of the charity event was to promote driver awareness of motorcyclists on roads.

“Toy runs for Father Bob were formed by individual riders, we nominated [Father Bob] as a charity to support,” she said.

“A lot of our motorcyclists have some connection to Father Bob from far back when he was the Army chaplain at the Puckapunyal Army base throughout the Vietnam war.”  

Orange Knights Motorcycle Club SES volunteer Vicky Creed said Broadford was a major attraction for the annual festivities.  

“This is a chance for motorcycle riders [to get] on the track, they’ve done a lap of track, which is something that they don’t usually get to do,” she said.  

“I would recommend anybody that lives in and around the area if you’ve been here, whether be it be on a race day, or a ride to come out and have a look.  

“Last year’s run was very small because of COVID … in the past we’ve had anywhere between 1500 and 2000 bikes a year, last year we only had about 70, and this year we’ve got over 300 bikes. Next year we hope to start growing it again.”  

Ms Creed said the donations and raffle prize money generated at the event would go to the foundation to provide for families experiencing various hardships.  

“The organisation itself is pretty well bipartisan in who it helps and how it helps someone. If a child needs a gift Father Bob will give them a gift no matter what,” she said.  

The annual toy run will be hosted again at Broadford on December 3, 2023.

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