David Golledge shares the vision beind Harleys for Humanity (H4H), with the organisation set to hold its amazing annual Turkey Run from 26 – 28 October.
How and why did you transit from being a Prison Officer in the Riot Squad to raising money on Harleys?
I had been a fairly aggressive person in my younger days, and working in a specialist riot squad for the Corrective Services suited me at that time and period of my life. I worked with a bunch of guys who were very tough, very disciplined, and we knew how to train hard and play hard. But after about 8 years in the Corrective Services, I became disillusioned with where and what I had become, so I resigned.
I struggled with life and eventually came to a decision that I needed to change my life. I needed to do something for someone else and the community.
How has Harleys 4 Humanity evolved?
I was driving home from work one afternoon, and this idea hit me like an epiphany. I had a Harley, and a few mates had Harleys, so why not do something like ride our bikes and raise funds for charity? The original Harleys for Helicopters was created in 2001.
In 2010, Harleys for Helicopters changed to Harleys for Humanity into its own incorporated body, to raise funds for other charities as well.
How much money have you raised to date, and who has benefited from these funds?
I think to date we have raised around $700,000 in funds, which has mainly gone to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service in the Hunter and New England areas … Although, now we are our own incorporated body and can decide who we donate money to. In 2012 we are donating to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter in the Hunter and New England regions and McMaugh Gardens Hostel in Uralla.
The hostel can do with some more money, and we are looking forward to helping them out. If there is one thing that chokes me up, it is people who need help, defenceless people and children. That is why I wear the tattoo on my back that says: “When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty”.
Tell us about your annual Turkey Run?
The Turkey Run is a ride that celebrates a great mate who died. The ride leaves Newcastle on a Friday morning at 10am and gets into Uralla about 4.30pm in the afternoon. There is a lot of lead up work all year long, with heaps of raffle tickets sold, heaps of days on the road chasing sponsors, getting things right.
Why is Uralla your destination choice?
Uralla was the only choice. My mate, Sandy Philp, grew up there; it was his town. Sandy had been to Sturgis in America for the biggest bike rally in the world. I wanted to bring Sandy home to his little town and the best little bike rally in NSW. Uralla also had Scotty Cox, the best bike builder in the world. I was determined to make this event a success for Sandy and to celebrate the person I believe to be the best of the best, Scotty Cox.
Scotty has been a huge supporter of the Turkey Run from day one. He has made or built the Top Bike trophy for our bike show every year. I was fortunate to win the inaugural Top Bike trophy. To bring Sandy’s memory home and to win that trophy …. well, life didn’t get much better for me at that time.
What are the attendance numbers for the Turkey Run, and describe the atmosphere during the event?
We have over 450 riders and pillion passengers come to Uralla for this event each year, and it just grows. You have some people decide not come for whatever reason, but more seem to want to come. I believe it is because there is no BS at this show – just good, honest people who want to have fun.
The atmosphere is electric; you cannot imagine the buzz you get riding into Uralla at 4.30pm on the Friday afternoon, to be greeted by men, women and children waving their arms and yelling out from the outskirts of town right into the main street and down to the bowling club. It makes you teary, and the hair on the back of your neck stands up. I love it; it is what makes me do it year after year.
This event puts approximately $300,000 into Uralla over the Turkey Run weekend. It is the single biggest event that Uralla has in any one year.
How can one support H4H?
Anyone can support and be involved with H4H or the Turkey Run. You don’t have to ride a Harley; you can ride any style of bike. This group is about people and doing something for the community – to leave a legacy that you can be proud of.
I want business to support this event; I want mums and dads to bring their kids to this event. I want to open up the town of Uralla so that people see this as a great destination ride or drive.
When is your next big event?
My next big event, mmmm … it’s going to be a huge custom car, custom bike, street bike and mini truck show in the main street of Wallsend in Newcastle on 7 April 2013. We are just going to shut down the main street of Wallsend and do it. I will be working with the Wallsend Festival Committee to put on a real cracker of a show.
I had been asked numerous times to do a show in Newcastle, but just couldn’t get the right place. Then it hit me after talking to Ray Bowles (my good mate) about it, and the idea hit us that Wallsend had so many characteristics like Uralla to hold an event, that it was a done deal. Already the sponsors are lining up to be involved in this event.
Who could you have not done this without?
In the beginning, in the early years, I could not have done this without Mike Hadfield; he was tremendous.
I have received massive support from my 5 major sponsors, who have been there from day one. They are:
Gregg Carson – Gregg Carson Design – a magician in graphic design. He has designed each and every shirt, logo, banner, cap, our website and anything that has H4H in it, on it, or around it. He coined the phrase: “We need to protect the brand, your brand, H4H”.
Greg Tapp Printing – prints our flyers, posters and business cards.
Brad Want from Hi Vis at Carrington has been the man behind getting all our coloured banners and decals and poster holders and the like. Hi Vis are also just about to fully wrap our Transit Van in our logos and sponsors’ logos; that van will look hot!
Fraser Motorcycles have been supporting us with merchandise and cash and bikes at reduced costs for raffle prizes, such as Harley Davidsons, since the beginning.
Panthers World of Entertainment in Newcastle has been there from the beginning, donating thousands of dollars each year. The cheques just turn up at the right time.
I really need to say thank you to Tom O’Connor the General Manager of Uralla Council; his support, along with Uralla Council’s, has been great. And Leanne Cooper and Bev Stubberfield from Thunderbolt’s Festival; they work very hard for us in their community.
I need to say a huge thank you to the team of people behind me that make up H4H Inc – who make me look good all the time: Ray and Pauline Bowles, Helen and Paul Duggan, Matt Hall, Rick and Irene Balkema, Barry Golledge, Neil Reed, Tracey Wolter, John and Kathy Quinton, Graham and Sue Jones, Michael and Kerrie Kearney, Keryn Barnett, Lou Lewis, Dave Smith, Steve Feeley, Jeff and Gaye Lawrence; you can all take a bow.
And last but not least is my wife, Leanne, who keeps me grounded when I get too ahead of myself with exciting ideas for fundraising. All of these people are the real workers.
I get the good job talking to sponsors and organising, but these guys do the hard work; without them behind me, this group would not succeed.
I guess all I can say is thank you with all of my heart to each and every person who attends the Turkey Run and makes it such a great event year after year.
This story was published in issue 65 of the New England Focus