Article By Adrian Hawkes, Special to ASSIST News Service
LONDON, UK (ANS – December 23, 2017) – The time when the “Red Army” came riding in to help our work with young people in London, took me right back to the 1960’s. It was very nostalgic, as in the 1960’s, I was involved a great deal with late night meetings at which, literally, hundreds of motorcyclists attended. This took place in a small church in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, Britain’s Second City.
However, our regular late “nightery” did not start until 9.00pm. The “nice Christians” did not want “nasty motorcyclists” in their “clean tidy” building until late at night, and so we were only allowed use of the building post 9.00pm and up to midnight only. I guess we were not popular with the church neighbours either, as 50-plus motorbikes all starting at the same time to go home at midnight, could not have endeared us to them.
So, forgive the reminiscing. Let me tell you my latest motorcycle club story.
Jo, our maintenance manager for Phoenix Community Care, which helps young refugees and at risk youngsters in London, was asked to do a “help out,” and to also make it a promotion for PCC for a local community event. To do this, she created a beach in the middle of our built-up area using paddling pools, deck chairs, and loads of sand. The kids thought it was great. “From a PCC promotion point of view,” Jo said, “I’m not sure that worked.” However a bunch of motorcyclists rolled up and really liked “The Beach Event.”
They so liked Jo’s creativity that they got to talking through it with her. Once they understood what kind of charity Jo worked for, they said, “Once a year our motorcycle team helps a charity out. Can we help yours this year?” What an offer. The motorcycle team was called The Red Army Riding Club, and are a UK-based social group of motorcycle enthusiasts.
So, on Saturday, December 16, 2017, just in time for Christmas, a whole section of biker’s turned up at our London offices. They had spent a lot of their own free time raising money. To date they have raised for us £1,400.00 ($1,871.00 USD). Probably more than that now, as I write. They then purchased hampers for all our young people, and proceeded to bike ride around the area and deliver them to each home.
Currently we have 25 young people of 16 and 17 years old, to whom we give support. It was great fun for all. And I really want to say a huge thank you to a great and generous club. Saturday night was a celebration party at the Beehive Pub, a place that we often spend “chillaxin’ time” in. It’s a place for our regular — and now a “must have” — Christmas Carol time.
The party included a professional singer, who came and sang for free. She was greatly enjoyed, especially when we discovered that she was playing at the famous Brixton Academy the following night for £50.00 ($67.00 USD) per person per ticket. So, there was generosity all around and a wonderful time was had by all.
I know that biker’s often get a bad rap, but in this case, I want to sincerely thank this “Red Army” for coming to our aid, and that of our youngsters, some of whom are refugees. Thank you again.