It is one of the most difficult subjects to discuss, the passing of a loved one, friend or colleague. But we all agree their passing should be marked in a way befitting their life.
This is what led to the creation of Motorcycle Funerals Ltd. In 2002 Rev. Paul Sinclair founded Motorcycle Funerals Limited, Britain’s first motorcycle hearse service. Paul, who had served at funerals for 30 years, believed we should reflect people’s lifestyles in their funerals. As he said “No one places an Everton fan in a Liverpool strip when they die so why should a motorcycle enthusiast be last seen in an automobile?”
Sadly Rev. Sinclair himself passed in April 2019, his wife Marian has taken over the helm.
Four makes of motorcycle are available: Triumph Bonneville, Triumph Thunderbird, Suzuki Haybusa and Harley Davidson Road King (for trike riders, there is a sister company running a unique trike hearse http://www.trikefunerals.co.uk/). For the cyclist they have a tandem bicycle hearse.
The motorcycle fleet comprises 4 Triumph Bonnevilles, 3 Triumph Thunderbirds, 3 Harley Davidson Road Kings, 2 Suzuki Hayabusas, and the Trike hearse.
All the hearses feature a pillion seat, flower rail, secure fittings, internal temperature control and a glass roof to light up the coffin and flowers.
Motorcycle Funerals can arrange the day to meet the needs of the individual. They can, for example, taken the deceased’s partner on the back of the bike for that last ride.
So how do you go about booking their services? “Most people go to their local funeral director who then rings us. We fill in a form about the day/date/person’s name and which bike they want. The funeral director tells us the timings (which Crematorium or cemetery or burial ground we are going to if we are going on a special route, passing a special place, or going via the family home). Some people come to us to direct as they arrange the funeral themselves. Whichever way we are approached, we provide the same level of service.”
“We do offer the family the choice if they want to ride pillion. If not the funeral director will sit pillion. We try to fit in with what the family wants, our riders wear black leather or Gore-Tex and helmets, but we have been asked to wear colored clothes and helmets which we will do. We do carry a spare helmet and the family member can wear this or if they have their own most want to wear that. A lot of funeral directors also have their own helmets but we do carry a spare just in case. Families sometimes tie balloons to the hearse or ribbons, anything that makes it personal to them.”
WHAT DOES IT COST?
The cost depends on what is required, the county and the bike required. For example, the Harley costs more than the Triumph or Suzuki and the Trike more than the Harley. You can pay as little as £750.00 for a local funeral and up to £1685 for an island or Scotland funeral.
WHERE ARE THEY BASED?
Motorcycle Funerals Ltd are based in Measham Leicestershire DE12 7HU. But they serve the whole of the British Isles, including the Channel Islands, Isle of Man.and the Isle of Wight.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Here we would normally test a product or service provided by the company, but this is different. I experienced the service provided when I lost one of my closest and dearest friends, Martin Gelder, far too early. His partner Linda wanted his lifelong passion for motorcycles to be a key feature of his funeral.
As a number of us ride, it was decided we would form a cortege behind the hearse. The local Harley dealership kindly gave us use of their cafe while we waited. At the appointed time, we gathered in their parking area, awaiting the hearse.
You had to see the hearse to take it in. The casket (adorned with murals of motorcycles) was in clear view in the specially designed sidecar. We lined up behind, and began the slow, respectful ride through the town.
Once outside the town, the cars in the procession made their way to the crematorium, allowing the hearse and the cortege to go for one last ride with our friend. We took a longer, more open route, allowing us to ride at a more ‘brisk’ pace together (as I said later, it was perhaps the first time I’d ever kept up with him on a ride out!)
The chance to take that final ride is a cherished memory. During the whole build up I was calm and relaxed and keen to do this. But once we arrived and parked up, when I was thanking the rider the emotion hit and I struggled to get out a simple “thank you” as I shook his hand.
It was the perfect way to say our goodbyes to a lifetime biker, making a sad day one that was memorable for a very good and upbeat reason as well. As bikers themselves, Motorcycle Funerals Ltd understand our feelings and needs, so can to work with you to create the perfect farewell.
HOW TO GET IN TOUCH
Telephone: 01530 274888/ 0845 375 2106
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