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Bikers gather to pay tribute to ‘true friend’

MOURNERS gathered at Accrington Crematorium to pay their last respects to biker Stephen Fairley.

MOURNERS gathered at Accrington Crem-atorium to pay their last respects to biker Stephen Fairley.

The 39-year-old, who lived in Royds Street, Accrington, was killed two weeks ago when his Suzuki motorbike was involved in a crash in Hapton.

Stephen, who would have celebrated his 17th wedding anniversary to wife Anne-Marie last weekend, was an experienced biker and mechanic who worked at Clarke's motorbike dealers in Accrington for many years.

A procession of around 15 motorbikes followed the funeral cortege through the town to the crematorium, where Stephen's family and friends, many dressed in black leather, were gathered for the service.

Four bikers carried the coffin into the chapel while one of Stephen's favourite rock songs, No More Tears, by Ozzy Osbourne, was played.

The chapel was packed for the service, during which humanist speaker Edward Joyce said it would be difficult for people who knew Stephen to make sense of the tragedy.

He said: "Some things in life just don't have any explanation and the death of a young person is like the sun being blotted out. But we must try to make sense of what has happened and each one of you will have a very special memory of him that you will cherish."

Mr Joyce described Stephen, who also leaves his sister Susan, father Alan and stepmother Olwyn, as a family-orientated man who was devoted to Anne-Marie.

He said: "Stephen was a cheerful, resourceful and helpful person who always had a smile and a joke. He was protective and supportive of Anne-Marie in every way. He will be remembered as a man who didn't have an enemy in the world."

Stephen's tearful brother-in-law, David Lamble, described him as a "very good friend" and thanked everyone who had sent cards and donations.

After the service, around 100 mourners gathered at the cemetery for the burial. Among the floral tributes at the graveside was a simple black wreath from Accrington Motorcycle Club, reading Ride like the wind.

Biker Keith Chew, who took part in the procession to the chapel, said: "Stephen was the best guy I have ever met. He would help anybody - if your bike broke down he would stop and fix it. We will all miss him."


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist