Shrewsbury  England is the place where Christmas is going to be far bleaker for a lot of children. Why? Due to budget cuts the police will not, claim they can not, support the toy run with an escort.

It seems to me that world wide, the police services are becoming more and more heartless.
They won't let civilians block intersections,(insurance risks don't yah know) the closed ranks do not want to allow a professional blocking course for civilians because that would take away from their paycheques and yet they will shut down an event because they can't get their double over time to block traffic.

Sad, disgusting, shocking, mind numbing, what ever negative label you want to put on it would be appropriate me thinks.

The bureaucracy is mind boggling.  25 years the toy run in Shrewsbury has been going on. Hundreds of children helped each year to have a better Christmas than they would have had without the kindness of strangers...

I have had very little respect for the police services as a whole over the last few years. Yes there are some wonderful officers and detachments and yes there are those who wear their uniform and do their job with pride, fairness and decency and then there are the bureaucrats, the ones who run things, and they disgust me as a whole. (we won't get into the way I feel about certain individual members)

In this day of budget cuts and poor economies there has never been a greater need for generosity and kindness,  and you would think that there would be one or two officers at the very least, willing to volunteer an hour or two of their time. VOLUNTEER - to GIVE back to the people who pay their paycheques, but no...either their commanding officers won't let them VOLUNTEER and use tax payer paid for police vehicles to block traffic or the police forget who employs them - who pays them...

It makes my heart sick - we almost lost our toy run here in Grande Prairie to a similar narrow minded mentality. Because we have a 1% club in town, the police penalized the rest of the community. If they are present (1%ers) we can not be seen to participate - YOU are no longer allowed to block traffic - it's too great an insurance risk.  The city's staff are so stretched with other parades through out the year that doing blockades with barriers is far to costly for them to help yet another what to do...

A compromise was finally reached where in the police provided an escort for the 20 or so blocks that the parade was allowed to be this year...As small as the parade route was this year, some 20 blocks, it was still better than no parade, by a long shot. Here in Grande Prairie, the toy run committee works all year long holding a variety of fundraisers and awareness events in an attempt to ensure that no matter how many or how few riders show up that the kids in this community and the surrounding region will have a good Christmas and feel special at least one day out of the year. The toy run is the culmination of a whole year's effort and is the final push to ensure that the kid's who need some cheer in life get it.

I see the support other communities like Whitecourt, Edson and Hinton get from their police services and fire departments, with toy runs that wind through town for a half hour and are really treated like a parade, like the special event they really are and it simply boggles my mind that Grande Prairie can only garner enough support from their counterparts here in GP to hold a 20 block parade. And yet, looking back on the alternative...the shutting down of a 33 year old event, well I'll take 20 blocks...yes, we will, and say a huge THANK YOU at the same time because at least there was compromise and dialogue a new beginning.

Let's discuss what the alternative would have meant here in Grande Prairie.  If the Toy Run was cancelled here, there would be between $25 and $30,000 less in toys that the Children's ward at the hospital, the Pregnant & Parenting Teens Group, Big Brother's & Big Sisters and the Salvation Army would have to distribute.

Let's do the math...the average price of a toy or article of clothing that is given to these organizations to distribute is $25 thanks to the huge discount Zeller's gives the Toy Run Committee - that's 1,200 toys/clothes, 1,200 children....never mind the donated toys that fill a small trailer!

I don't know the numbers in Shrewsbury England, what the toy run brings in or the costs of toys there, but let's say that the 350 riders the article alludes to supply toys to 500 kids...all for the lack of a few police officers willing to DONATE or VOLUNTEER some of their time 500 children are going to be impacted.


Oh and by the way, to the Grande Prairie RCMP, the City of Grande Prairie and the Toys for Tots Committee...thank you for being willing to meet at the round table and find a compromise and I am confident right now that I can say that thanks not just from myself, but from every child and young teen that will have at least one gift under the may not be ideal, it may not have lasted for very long, but that it happened at all is an absolute blessing to so many, so THANK YOU.

And that's my 2 bits worth, what say you?

In other news:

In the US a bunch of the Vagos Motorcycle Club members were raided and arrested in California

In Quebec the Hells Angels were also raided and members were arrested.

On TV, Sons of Anarchy episode reviewed...

A rider shakes his head at drivers who pass on the right

There are many other articles of interest in the news feeds today, please check them out at  if you want to know what's happening that could affect your day or impact your life...check them out!

I have been fielding some questions about the Charity Calendars and when they will be shipped out...Pre sales run until October 31st. At that time I will do a count of what is needed and I will get that many calendars printed off as I refuse to get stuck with any.  The calendars should be ready for distribution the end of the second or during the third week of November...

I sign off today wishing you a happy Friday, a great long weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving

Until Tuesday...Ride safe and be happy

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

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