Toy run providing Christmas cheer | PHOTOS

With COVID-19 restrictions forcing the Christmas pageant to go digital this year, Saturday's toy run kept the spirit of the season alive on the streets of Whyalla.

The third annual toy run saw motorcycles and cars weave their way through the city collecting toys that will be donated to needy local families this Christmas.

About 60 motorcyclists and drivers were involved, visiting 30 different streets and locations across Whyalla before finishing with a sausage sizzle.

Organiser Darrel Risborg said he was thrilled with the response from the community in donating toys to help fellow community members this festive season.

He estimated that more than 200 toys were donated.

"The toy run was marvellous and we had a good turnout, although we were a bit low on the numbers of bikes and cars due to the weather," he said.

"The amount of items donated was unreal and I was surprised by how many we collected along the way. Some families were throwing in three gifts and it warms your heart.

"This is our third toy run and we are only getting bigger and better. More people are starting to recognise us, what we are doing and why, and they are more generous in handing out toys."

Mr Risborg said he and fellow riders were Whyalla's "Santa's little helpers", heading around town for the cause.

He said the collected toys were handed to Centacare's Whyalla office, who would then separate them and distribute based on age and gender.

They will be given to Whyalla community members doing it tough at Christmas.

"We enjoy the ride just as much as we see smiles on kids' faces and that alone makes our day," Mr Risborg said.

"Knowing we can help kids in need, who can wake up on Christmas Day and unwrap a gift, is bloody awesome.

"It's all about helping local kids because we don't want to see any kids waking up on Christmas Day not opening a gift. We are helping to spread the joy."

He said it was also a way to compensate for the pageant falling victim to COVID restrictions.

"With this year not having a normal pageant, I think it's why we had a lot more families on the streets," he said.

"You can watch the pageant on your TV this year, but it is not the same.

"We had lights flashing down the road and what kid doesn't like to see that?"