Kids love this big hearted biker
HE’S a big biker with an even bigger heart for helping kids.
John Young, known as “Big John”, is a big hearted biker, who loves riding his Harley Davidson and Yamaha, but his true passion comes from raising money for children.
The 67-year-old stands 200cm, worked as a canine security officer and is also trained in anti-terrorism and unarmed combat.
In 1990 he founded Bikers for Kids to raise money and provide toys for children in the Newcastle area, whom he felt needed some attention.
“I’m a bit of a rough and tumble type of guy,” Mr Young said. “What you see is what you get.
“But my goal is to see that no child is in need of charity.”
The charity has a close affiliation with the Salvation Army and has grown rapidly, but Mr Young still isn’t satisfied with their success.
“There are about 26,000 bikers in the Newcastle area and we get 6000 involved,” he said. “I want them all involved and the Salvation Army writes a receipt for everything that comes in.”
Mr Young has touched the lives of many young people yet he has never forgotten one particular girl who offered a special donation.
“This little girl walked up to me with a battered teddy and said, ‘this is for the kids, I’ve enjoyed it and I love my teddy but I would rather give it to someone who hasn’t got one.’
“A three-year-old child was thinking about other people. That’s amazing.”
Leanne Campbell, 50, nominated Mr Young for the Pride of Australia’s Community Spirit Award. She said the community have rallied behind the big hearted biker known as “the big fella”.
“Big John has such a large presence and people respect him,” Ms Campbell said.
“He felt there was a gap between the ‘have’ and ‘have nots’ and this was a way to mobilise the community so they could pitch in and do something.”