Not all heroes wear capes but some, like Raymond Terrace’s Bernie Viemeier, do.
Mr Viemeier and his crew of superhero enthusiasts, the Hunter Heroes, donate their time to visit children in hospital and participate in charity events all while dressed for the part.
“A lot of time and effort goes into all these costumes,” Mr Viemeier said, styled as a convincing Captain America.
“It makes us feel like it kind of justifies the hobby a little bit.”
This Sunday the cast of comic book characters will join the ranks of one of Newcastle’s biggest and most dedicated contingents of superheroes. These ones ride bikes.
For the 41st year in a row more than 8000 motorcyclists will cruise from Stockton to Wickham Park to deliver presents to the Salvation Army for children in need.
Last year the bikers donated 30,000 gifts to families in the Hunter.
“We’re not all privileged to have parents who can afford presents and we provide for the ones that don’t,” Rankin Park biker Daryn Young said.
He has participated in Newcastle’s Toy Run with his father, John ‘Big John’ Young, since 1986.
“We’re Australia’s biggest Toy Run,” Mr Young said.
“The [Newcastle] bike community is a magic thing, it is one big family.
“It comes from the heart.”
Inspired by the outfits and decorations motorcyclists have pulled out in previous years, Salvation Army’s Maree Fletcher said the charity decided to make the 2018 event superhero themed with competitions for best-dressed family and best-dressed bike.
She encouraged everyone to come to Wickham Park on Sunday to welcome the fleet of motorbikes arriving from 10.20 am.
There will be stalls, rides, live music and children’s entertainment at the park until 1.30 pm.
“The sight and the sound is amazing,” she said.
“To see all the bikes pile into the oval is a sight to be seen.”
Ms Fletcher said the amount of Hunter families requesting help for Christmas was increasing “year on year”.
“They’re so appreciative when they do come and pick up the toys we’ve put aside for their family,” she said.
“Sometimes it is a bit of a private thing because they want it to be private, but they’re so thankful to the community for supporting them.”
Ms Fletcher said those wanting to donate to the Toy Run can drop off gifts on Sunday or take them to their local Salvation Army church, Kmart or Newcastle Permanent branch.
The charity is short of presents for teenagers this year and for this reason gift cards would be particularly appreciated, she said.
Parents and carers who cannot afford gifts this Christmas are encouraged to get in contact with their local Salvation Army church.
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