For the past three decades years, Barbara Maggs and partner Tony Jenner have organised the Cranbourne Ulysses Motorcycle Club Christmas toy run to gather gifts for needy children, but this year the gift is for Barb.
The 81-year-old has been honoured with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the annual Queen’s Birthday honours list for her tireless charity work with her longtime riding partner, Tony.
Another OAM recipient is John Herbert Young, of New Lambton NSW, for service to children and the community of Newcastle. He is the founder of Bikers for Kids Newcastle in 1990 and coordinator and organiser of the Newcastle Toy Run since 1978. He also promotes the Summer Blood Challenge for Australian Red Cross Blood Service in the Newcastle region and organises visits of motorcycle riders and their bikes to the Children’s Ward, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle.
It is great to see the Birthday Honours including motorcycle riders who raise millions of dollars a year for charities in events held around Australia.
Barb and Tony have been running the Cranbourne Toy Run to Calder Park since 1985, leading hundreds of riders on his Honda Goldwing.
Their efforts result in trailer-loads of food and toys being donated for underprivileged families at Christmas time.
Barb is a Motorcycle Riders Association life member and has also received the highest honour from the Ulysses Club, the Dearnley Medal, which she and Tony received in 2005.
Her son, Dale, says Barb has been a longtime motorcycle fan getting her licence in the 1980s and buying a Nifty 50 scooter.
“She’s had a few bikes, mainly small engine, but she’s preferred to be a pillion,” he says.
Dale and step-father Tony bought GS Suzukis in the 1980s and shared in a DJP chair which fit both their bikes. He says the very first run for Tony and Barb in the outfit was a surprise round-Australia holiday.
The couple joined the Ulysses Club in 1983 as members #204 and #205, just six months after it started and have been avid members since.
The idea for the Cranbourne Toy Run started after they visited Melbourne and saw their toy run.
“It’s been so successful, they’ve even had people come from the US to join the toy run,” Dale says.
“She’s an avid rider, but also a person who likes to go out and help needy families and needy kids.”
When told about the OAM, Barb was a little surprised and thought it may be a joke.
“She didn’t tell us about it, but then she got bombarded by the media and mum had to let us know what was happening,” Dale says.
“I think it’s pretty awesome for her.”