‘Bike mad’ Gwen’s last ride

Bikers' tribute: Gwen Kirby is driven to her funeral in the specially-adapted motorbike hearse
Bikers' tribute: Gwen Kirby is driven to her funeral in the specially-adapted motorbike hearse
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DOZENS of bikers gathered in tribute to a woman who had a lifelong love of bikes.

Gwen Kirby was taken to Park Wood Crematorium, Elland, in a specially-adapted motorbike hearse.

She died aged 51 after a 15-year battle with cancer and friends from the biking community from across the UK rode in cortege from Brighouse to Elland.

Her partner of five years, Robert Flake, 61, of Belle Vue Terrace, Luddenden Foot, said she was “bike mad” and got the bug as a child from her mum and dad.

He said Gwen started working as a despatch rider during the miners’ strike taking film from the front line to the BBC.

She was also a former bus conductress but continued as a despatch rider for many years.

“Riding 500 to 600 miles a day was nothing to her,” said Mr Flake.

The couple were both members of the Moto Guzzi Club GB and her last bike was a V65 SP. She was also attached to the Dulcati Club.

“She was a right `Tom Boy` and very well educated,” said Mr Flake.

“She went to Aberystwyth University and was an expert on fish.”

Gwen battled her illness but had to give up riding 18 months ago.

The cancer attacked her nervous system and she became paralysed from the waist down.

“She had to stop riding and it was very hard for her,” said Mr Flake.

“I will miss everything about her including her wit.

“She was very well known in motorcycle circles.”

Gwen was born in Shelf and also leaves her son, Richard, 19, a Royal Marine Commando, and her mother, Joan.

The service was conducted by Ray Biddiss, a Baptist minister, of Wheatley, Halifax, who administers “life celebration funerals.”

A keen biker himself, he used for the first time at Park Wood an adapted one-piece trike hearse built on a 2,340cc Triumph Rocket.

“It was a real privilege to send someone on their final journey in the way they lived,” he said.