Thousands of kilometres were clocked up when Ryal Bush Transport Ashburton hosted its annual Smiles4miles community event, offering vehicle rides to people with special needs or facing day-to-day medical challenges.

The event was open to any child, or adult, with special needs or dealing with medical difficulty who wanted a ride in a vehicle in which they might not normally get a chance to travel.

Evan Field (11), of Rolleston, gets to ride in a concrete truck. Photos: Toni Williams
Evan Field (11), of Rolleston, gets to ride in a concrete truck. Photos: Toni Williams

However, there were other people lined up to have a ride, too.

Ryal Bush Transport's Chad Stewart, one of the organisers, said it was a feelgood event enjoyed by the drivers as much as those getting a ride.

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It was the second time the truck company had run the event.

People came from around the greater Canterbury district to attend, including a busload from the Hohepa Foundation. There were 100 people registered to go for a ride.

Jacob Olsen, of Ashburton, takes a ride on the St John ambulance stretcher.
Jacob Olsen, of Ashburton, takes a ride on the St John ambulance stretcher.

Emergency services were on site with a police car, an ambulance and a Russian L29 trainer jet for people to explore, and hitting the road were a fire engine, milk tanker, vintage or classic cars, hot rods and 20 different types of trucks - concrete trucks, stock trucks, recycling trucks and more.

Rapid Relief Team volunteers were kept busy cooking free hamburgers and sausages for anyone on site.

There were even two donkeys and two goats for petting in the yard.

Mr Stewart said staff at the transport company were keen to host a community event and were initially inspired by a Hug A Rig day, in Gore.

Rose Falloon, of Pleasant Point, takes a ride in the 300cc BMW Isetta with owner Alister Lobb.
Rose Falloon, of Pleasant Point, takes a ride in the 300cc BMW Isetta with owner Alister Lobb.

He said Smiles4miles organisers would consider opening the event next year to anyone who wanted to have a ride.

Mr Stewart said photographs from the day were loaded on to their Smiles4miles Facebook page for people to view.

The drivers, who all volunteered their time and costs, were kept busy during the three-hour event, driving a giant loop joy ride around the west side of Ashburton.

They started at the Ryal Bush Transport yard on Maronan Rd, in Tinwald, went through Ashburton, up Racecourse Rd, along State Highway 77 and back to Ryal Bush Transport.

Central Rural Life

Bella Watson (15), of Mt Somers, and Lily Wilson (13), of Ashburton, try out the 1950s Russian L29 trainer jet on loan from the Ashburton Aviation Museum.
Bella Watson (15), of Mt Somers, and Lily Wilson (13), of Ashburton, try out the 1950s Russian L29 trainer jet on loan from the Ashburton Aviation Museum.