Bikers organise memorial run for Toy Run founder Ben Spiller

A tribute ride will be held for Ben Spiller on Sunday, September 26.

MOTORCYCLISTS will pay tribute to the Reading Toy Run founder later this month.

A tribute ride for Ben Spiller will be held on Sunday, September 26, following his death earlier this year.

It will start at 1.15pm from Showcase Cinema, in Winnersh.

Mr Spiller died on Friday, April 9, at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Tilehurst following a short illness.

At the time, Jane, his wife of more than 40 years, said in a statement: “While there, he had been constantly surrounded by his family, where he faced his failing health with dignity and a genuine sense of peace that his Christian faith brought.”

Mr Spiller organised the Toy Run for more than 30 years, and saw it grow into a Guinness World Record-holding event.

Bikers from across the country would gather at the Foster Wheeler Building in Shinfield before driving through Wokingham to High Close School where they would donate toys to Barnardo’s children in time for Christmas.

He also organised Dr B’s Custom and Classic Bike Show, which was held annually in Wokingham.

A committed Christian, the Spiller family said that his faith was “the hub of his turning world”, while the biking community was “his tribe”.

The family held a private funeral under covid restrictions, but are now hoping bikers will join together for the memorial run.

A permanent memorial has also been created for Mr Spiller at High Close School.

On Sunday, September 12, the Spiller family were invited to a memorial event at the school, where a planter in the shape of a motorbike, filled with a small Christmas tree was unveiled, alongside a hand-painted plaque.

Mark Shears, principal at the Wiltshire Road school, said the Reading Toy Run brings a significant contribution to the pupils, as well as other Barnardo’s projects and charities.

“It is always humbling to see the generosity of so many people, who give so much to the most vulnerable young people in our society,” he said.

“Ben was a close friend of High Close, his wife Jane taught at the school for many years, and we are incredibly sad at his passing, but take comfort from his legacy and the lasting impact of the Toy Run.

“We hope that this year’s Toy Run will be able to go ahead and be a tribute to Ben’s memory. “

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