Escorting a biker on his last trip…sad but inspiring too

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    Yesterday was the funeral of a frind of mine, a 55 year old lad called Toni. He was Thumper’s brother-in-law and really nice bloke. In the last couple of years he had been battlling a terminal illness with support of his wife and family, but sadly he succumbed 10 days ago and passed away.
    He was a passionate biker and one of the frustrations of his illness was that it prevented him from riding in recent months. However he had defied doctors orders last year a got a 650 Suzuki Bandit and managed a few short rides on that with Thumper in tow for company.
    As his illness deepened and even the short hops on his Suzuki became impossible the Harley Owners Club stepped in. Earlier this year they gathered and treated Toni to a fantastic day, taking him out in a sidecar and even a naughty trip on the pillion of a bike or two. It was to be his last biking day and is a special memory for his family because of that.

    That brings us to yesterday and Toni’s funeral. The same group of Harley owners remembered Toni fondly and were keen to pay there respects to a true gentleman. So when the funeral courteage pulled away from the church it was escorted by a dozen Harley Davidson bikes ridden by members of the owners club. Thumper and  Toni’s old friend Steve had been lent a pair of demonstrators for the day by the dealership Stratstone in Birmingham and joined the line . I tagged along at the back on my 600 alongside one of Toni’s neighbours on a Honda 650.  The sight was amazing as the hearse was trialed by a trio of Harleys, then the family car followed by the rest of us. The sound was incredible and as the group slowly made their way to the Crematorium many many heads were turned. The group made an emotional ‘flypsat’ of Bassetts Pole, one of the last places Toni rode to on his Suzuki.
    He would of loved it: it was a fitting way to send off a fellow biker

    I would like to thank both Stratstone Birmingham and the Harley Davidson Owners Club (Birmingham Chapter) for their help in giving Toni such a memorable send off. He family were extremely touched and the non-bikers among the mourners were given a new insight into biking.

    RIP Toni, you were a gentleman of the first order and will be sadly missed by anybody lucky enough to of met you.

    A few pictures, I was busy riding so I didn’t get one of the whole line up, but trust me it was amazing:

    The bikes forming up outside the church, not a great shot, but i was sat on my Thundercat at the time…

    Thumper on Stratstone’s Sportster demo

    Steve on the other demonstrator…It had virtually open pipes and sounded awesome

    The leading trio at the Crematorium after the escort ride

    A matching pair of Heritage Soft tails

    At the impressive Middleton Hall after the service

    The Stratstone bikes

    Thanks again to Stratstone:

    and of course the Harley Owners club



    bought a tear to my eye

    RIP Toni xxxx


    RIP Toni, what a great send off!


    It was an emotional day and was very impressed by the Harley riders. Bikers are always turning out to support good causes or cases of individual need

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