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800 motorcyclists make 35th toy run

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 10. 2017 11:32PM
Jim Tisdale, 63, of Bridgewater, brings several toys to the New Hampshire Union Leader parking lot Sunday as part of the NH Motorcyclists' Rights Organization's 35th annual toy run, which benefits the New Hampshire Union Leader Santa Fund for The Salvation Army. (MICHAEL COUSINEAU/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Jim Tisdale rode in on his motorcycle with Mickey Mouse as his co-pilot.

The Bridgewater man joined about 800 motorcycles and 1,200 people taking part Sunday in the NH Motorcyclists’ Rights Organization’s 35th annual toy run, which benefits the New Hampshire Union Leader Santa Fund for The Salvation Army.

Tisdale, 63, has donated toys every year since 1990.

“Because kids have a Christmas, my friend,” said Tisdale, whose gifts included the stuffed Disney character, a jigsaw puzzle and foam ball blasters.

“Sometimes, growing up, I didn’t have the greatest of Christmases,” Tisdale said. “Times were tight. This is my way of giving back. It means a lot to me.”

Toys donated Sunday will help go toward the collection of 10,000 to 12,000 toys that qualified parents will choose from at the Santa Fund’s toy shop before Christmas.

“The motorcycle toy run will only help us get a jump on the kickoff of Santa Fund,” said Salvation Army Capt. Michael Harper. The official kickoff is at the Santa Fund luncheon on Nov. 20.

“In a few months, these gifts you’re bringing today will put a smile on a child’s face,” said Mayor Ted Gatsas.

Sherm Packard helped organize the motorcycle toy run, which started in Concord and ended at the Union Leader.

“Look around you,” he told the hundreds of motorcyclists gathered. “Think of all the kids who receive toys and have a happy Christmas because of your generosity.”

Barry Noel, 52, of Allenstown said every year he thought about participating in the toy run.

“This year, I made sure that I was here,” he said.

Noel brought several toys, including a large gray teddy bear and several movie-themed minions.

“I had three minions; I lost one along the way,” he said.

Santa Fund Manchester