Great news: Good Samaritans make generous offer after theft
WHEN Bill Tottey discovered a thief had swiped the Historic Leyburn Sprints start banner last weekend, he didn't hesitate to put up his hand to support the event that has brought him incredible enjoyment over more than two decades.
Mr Tottey and wife Lynda Bennett have only missed three sprints meetings over its 24-year lifespan and watched dedicated volunteers build the event into the institution it has become.
That's why as owners of Bremer Signs in Ipswich, they have offered to replace the missing start banner free of charge if it isn't found.
Mr Tottey said it was 'no biggie' to replace the sign, as he knew it was a great event run by a dedicated team.
"It's a volunteer organisation, they've already paid for the banner but it's something I can put back into Leyburn after everything we've gotten out of it," Mr Tottey said.
"It's amazing that over those close to 30 years, the way the community has changed over the years because of the event."
Volunteers were shocked to discover the start banner was missing before racing began last Sunday morning, forcing the team to scramble to find an old banner and push the start time back.
Mr Tottey said he was disappointed to hear the banner had been taken, most of all because the thief wouldn't be able to use it.
"This thing is so damn big, I doubt anyone can hang it in their shed," he said.
"Whoever stole it, it's going to get wasted. It's not usable because it's too big to put anywhere."
News of Mr Tottey's kind donation was gratefully received by Historic Leyburn Sprints committee president Tricia Chant.
"It's really appreciated and really thoughtful of them," she said.
"Because we're a not for profit if we had to purchase that again that's money out of our bank that we have to use to put this event on."
But Mrs Chant said she was still eager to recover the missing banner, which cost about $2000, and see those who took it held to account.
She hopes the Leyburn Sprints family may be able to help recover it down the track.
"It's such a unique banner that if they hang up in their shed someone is going to see it and know exactly what it's for," she said.
It's the welcoming atmosphere the sprints family has created that the generous givers have come to admire.
While they have also competed in other locations, such as the Noosa Hill Climb, Mr Tottey said Leyburn was in a class of its own.
"Leyburn is Leyburn - it's unique in the way that it runs, the people that are there...it's an incredible event and it's great to just be there," he said.
Anyone with information about the theft is urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.