The Easy Riders SMC North East generously nominated the veterans’ charity Launchpad, and its residents in Avondale House on the Byker Estate in Newcastle, as their Christmas charity this year.  Many of the members of this biking group are veterans themselves and they knew some of the Avondale House residents from serving together in the Army.

Each resident veteran in Avondale House received a Christmas box from the Easy Riders, which included Christmas items – not only sweets, chocolate, and mince pies, but also tea, coffee, pasta, rice and tinned foods.  The veterans were really grateful to receive all this as most of them are currently looking for jobs and undergoing job training.  The donations have really added a sparkle to their Christmas. 

One unusual gift was 31 scratch cards, one for each resident, but it was decided to check all the cards independently and divide any winnings between all 31 veterans.  This draw is likely to be the highlight of the Avondale House Christmas Lunch later this month.

Veteran Gary Anderson, who is a resident said:  “It was a really generous gesture of the Easy Riders from the North East and greatly appreciated just before Xmas.”

Veteran Glen Houghton, another resident, said: “It was really great that the Bikers thought of doing something like that for us; we really didn’t expect to see so many people turn up to support us and also how many gifts they had".

Veteran Jon Glasper said: “It was much appreciated and an emotional occasion; we can’t thank them enough".

Veteran Warren said: “It was great to see all the bikes and amazing what the Easy Riders did for us; it means so much to us, especially at this time of the year".

The bikes and bikers from the Easy Riders made quite a spectacle outside Avondale House in the middle of the Byker Estate, not quite of the Prince Harry visit scale but similar.  Phil Old, the Manager and ex-Royal Navy himself, said of the generosity of the bikers:  “It was an incredible sight and many local Byker residents came out to see the bikes and meet Santa Claus.  We didn’t really know what to expect when this was arranged, but the veterans have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Easy Riders.  It was a very humbling and emotional day for everyone involved".