This event seems to get bigger and bigger each year. Loved by the community in general, the Lord Mayor of Parramatta summed it up in 2011.
“Bikers are Welcome!” It’s not every day that someone says this to you. But it was said to the participants of the Bikers Australia Blanket Run on August 7, 2011. And by a politician no less.
In a time when everyone who rides is portrayed by the media as ‘known associates’ it was certainly refreshing to hear the Lord Mayor of Parramatta John Chedid publicly refute this negative stereotype and call the assembled group of riders ‘magnificent ‘ for bringing blankets to the Launch of Homeless Persons Week in Parramatta every year for over a decade.
“Well done…to the motorcycling community for arranging this fabulous event… deep down in your heart you want to make a difference… you ride a bike and can be part of an organisation, you can carry your colours and give something back to the community. Well done guys, thank you” he said.
Not far behind him was his Liberal mate, local state member and member of the O’Farrell government Geoff Lee. Together they wandered around welcoming the bikers to Parramatta. Although they stood out in their suits it was clear that Geoff was equally impressed.
“I think it is a fantastic initiative to raise awareness of the homeless people… I have put up a notice of motion in Parliament to debate the importance of homelessness and to congratulate you… on the great work you are doing,” he said during an interview for Temporary Australians.
I bet that came as a surprise to the NSW Premier to hear one of his own praising the efforts of members of the motorcycling community for their work over decades in providing blankets for those in desperate need.
Bikers Australia’s President Rich explained:
“We try to give a little bit back to those who aren’t as well off…that’s the great thing about the blanket run…you get a real good cross section of social clubs…and even some of the 1% guys like to come along on an everyday ride and help a bit….they know what it’s like to not be on the right side of the ledger…that’s a really generous thing about bikers, they do like to help out.”
Chips, President of the Kings Cross Bikers Social and Welfare echoed a similar feeling:
“Great cause great people, can’t really go wrong can you…bikers showing that we are not all that the media portrays…helping out as needed… each year you get more and more bikes, different clubs coming on in… great way to meet new people and do something good at the same time.”
Federal MP Julie Owens, who has been on the run for at least the last 5 years, made it clear why this sort of event is needed during her speech at the launch noting that every night 105,000 Australians are caught in the cycle of homelessness. In her opinion Parramatta has its share of this problem and the Blanket Run is a way many of us can help out.
“It’s one of the great things to do…It’s a great bunch of people and a great event…we can all do a bit even if it is a small thing, even if it is giving a blanket and helping out. Tonight in Parramatta 500 people will be sleeping out and its winter and we can all do a bit to making that better.”
Seems unanimous then! The partnership between Bikers Australia and Brotherhood CMC has made a difference in Sydney’s west providing frontline services with blankets to distribute to those in need for well over 10 years.
Perhaps the Lord Mayor should have the last say, even though he kept eyeing off my Harley:
“I am very, very impressed. This is one of the best ways to celebrate homeless week…this is very overwhelming…it gives people the true impression that bikies are about the community and getting out and helping the people that are in need of help… and all the bikies down here today, it is something magnificent. Our city is proud to host this homeless week.”