A FAMILY have spoken of their shock after a biker who has devoted the last 17 years of his life to his hobby was killed in a crash at Hapton on Tuesday morning.
Motorbike-mad Stephen Fairley, 39, suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
It is believed Mr Fairley, who lived with his wife, Anne-Marie, in Royds Street, Accrington, was travelling from home to work in Burnley when his Suzuki was involved in a crash with two cars on Accrington Road.
Mr Fairley worked as a security guard at Poundland in Burnley after being forced to give up his job as a motorbike mechanic at Clarke's motorbike dealers on Whalley Road, Accrington, due to health problems. He began riding bikes in his early 20s shortly after he met Anne-Marie, a 37-year-old Hyndburn Council worker, and was a keen and experienced rider.
His brother-in-law, David Lamble, 40, of Exchange Street, Accrington, said: "Me and my brother Chris have always had bikes so when he met Anne-Marie she inspired him. He had been riding for 17 years and was an experienced and good rider who loved his bike. Being a mechanic, he spent a lot of time making sure it was up to scratch."
Mr Lamble paid tribute to Stephen as a loving family man who was never too busy to offer a helping hand. He was due to celebrate his 17th wedding anniversary in two weeks' time and had been asked to be best man at the forthcoming wedding of his sister Susan.
He said: "Anne-Marie and Stephen were a devoted couple who lived for each other. It's really devastated my sister. Marriage may not be very popular these days but they are one of the couples who really took to it. They were always happy to have their 12 nephews and nieces round and this has really hit them hard.
"I can't think of anybody who had a bad word to say about him because he was such a nice bloke. He was a practical bloke. He could put his hand to anything."
Peugeot driver Jane Barker, 35, of Accrington Road, Hapton, her 10-year-old son, Scott, and Ford Focus driver Ronald Coutman, 72, of Chatburn Avenue, Burnley, were all treated for shock.
Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward and they are also keen to hear from anyone who saw the bike as it left Accrington. A bikers' funeral will be arranged, with mourners wearing black leather jackets. Stephen also leaves his father Alan, stepmother Olwyn and sister Susan.