HUNDREDS of mourners attended the funeral of lifelong motorbike fanatic Arthur Lofthouse.
Friends and family gathered at the chapel in Accring-ton Cemetery on Wednesday to celebrate the life of the 67-year-old, of Hygiene, Clayton-le-Moors, who died from multiple injuries after losing control of his bike in Teesdale, County Durham.
The chapel was packed full of mourners and many people had to listen to the service, led by Officiator for the British Humanist Assoc-iation, Hayward Lynn Millard, from outside.
Mr Millard paid tribute to a sociable man who was very well-known and well-liked. He said that although Mr Lofthouse was popular and had many acquaintances, he had just a few close friends. He also had a great sense of humour and was a larger-than-life character. He was a very active man who used to enjoy shooting and fishing, but his main hobby was riding his bike.
Mr Millard added: "He always said that he did not want to grow old and be spoon-fed and that when the time came he wanted to go on his motorbike."
During the proceedings, he read out a poem (see below) paying tribute to Mr Lofthouse, which had been penned by his close friend, Hugh Davies. The humanist service did not include any readings or hymns and ended with a recording of Queen's The Show Must Go On.
Mr Lofthouse leaves family including four daughters, Lesley, 46, Jacqui, 44, Tracey, 42, Terri, 35, son John, 40, and four grandchildren.
In a tragic twist of fate, his other son, Michael, 28, was also killed on a motorbike during a practice session at the Isle of Man TT races seven years ago.
Arthur by Hugh Davies
I can see him now, dog and bike,
The white-haired wonder I grew to like,
Cycling along, his face would glow,
As along the canal towpath he would go.
Life to him was one big thrill,
Close to danger, many a spill.
His day was full, he did so much,
But always had time to keep in touch.
He loved to shoot and he loved to ride,
And on one occasion from the law did hide.
His lust for speed kept him young,
His passion for life, into everything he flung.
On Sunday the fourteenth of September,
Arthur went on a ride to remember.
Before selling his bike he took his last ride,
Hit a stone wall and at the scene died.
My pal on the canal was a number one bloke,
Every time we met he always had a joke.
He made me laugh when the weather was grim,
Arthur Lofthouse - I'll always remember him.