Lucky punters replace Alex's stolen bike

Alex Tolliday is all smiles on his new bike after his last one was stolen. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Alex Tolliday is all smiles on his new bike after his last one was stolen. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

THREE lucky punters have made a Ballarat boy’s year by replacing his stolen bike after seeing his distressed mother’s Facebook post. 

Alex Tolliday, 8, was just three months off his training wheels when his new bike was taken off the family’s front veranda in Ballarat East on Wednesday.

A day later, mother Melanie posted a picture of Alex and the bike on the social media site in a bid to get the bike back. 

The social media frenzy that ensued caught the attention of Paul Ballinger, who, along with colleagues Glenn Sharp and Andrew Rowan, won a quadrella bet the previous weekend. 

“We thought we’d chuck some of the quaddie wins in and put in $110 each,” Mr Ballinger said. 

“Mel and Brent have had a bit of bad luck in the past and we had a bit of luck, so we passed it on.” 

Mr Ballinger, who knows the Tolliday family, organised the delivery of the new bike to an unsuspecting Alex on Friday. 

“It was amazing, so unexpected,” said Brent Tolliday, who had taken Alex to a Ballarat bicycle shop on Thursday to look for a replacement bike.

“We were looking for something for the September holidays, but it would have taken two to three months to save up for a new one,” he said. 

Alex was “over the moon” with the new bike, according to his father, who plans to take his son to Nerrina with his new toy.

“We’ll go up into the bush, because they’ve got all the dirt hills and I’ve got a mountain bike,” he said. 

Mrs Tolliday was amazed at how quickly a social-media platform had changed her son’s situation – something Mr Rowan described as “the power of social media”.

“We’re going to have to get a big padlock,” she said. 

The three quaddie winners gamble infrequently and it was Mr Ballinger’s friend who put them onto a winner.

“We didn’t even have to put any names in, it just came straight from a tip, so it was obviously meant to be,” Mr Ballinger said. 

Alex’s new bike is flashier and has more gears than the stolen one, according to Mr Tolliday, who admitted his son preferred the new model.

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