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Bikers' cortege for motorcycle enthusiast David Gurney who died from cancer

PUBLISHED: 14:30 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:31 02 February 2018

Funeral director Ted Charles leads the motorcycle procession for the funeral of David Gurney from Oakwood House Care Home at Colney. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Funeral director Ted Charles leads the motorcycle procession for the funeral of David Gurney from Oakwood House Care Home at Colney. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A procession of bikers thronged the streets of Norwich to pay their respects to a popular motorcycle enthusiast who passed away from cancer in December.

Oakwood House Nursing Home resident David Gurney on a Suzuki Intruder motorbike with home activities co-ordinator Emily Watson. The bike was one of 80 which turned up outside the home as a special treat for the 76-year-old. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIEOakwood House Nursing Home resident David Gurney on a Suzuki Intruder motorbike with home activities co-ordinator Emily Watson. The bike was one of 80 which turned up outside the home as a special treat for the 76-year-old. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

David Gurney, a resident at Oakwood House care home in Colney, died on December 21 at the age of 77 with his sister Cindy and her daughter Wendy by his side.

After an appeal from the care home dozens of bikers joined a funeral cortege led along Earlham Road to Earlham Chapel.

Mr Gurney himself was carried to his final resting place in a sidecar hearse.

In April last year, more than 80 motorcyclists turned up at Mr Gurney’s care home after an appeal from activities coordinator Emily Wilson.

Motorcyclists ready to follow the motorcycle hearse carrying David Gurney from Oakwood House Care Home at Colney to his funeral. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMotorcyclists ready to follow the motorcycle hearse carrying David Gurney from Oakwood House Care Home at Colney to his funeral. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

And after staying on to help organise the funeral, Mrs Wilson will leave the home this week to go into business as a freelance.

She described the day as “brilliant”.

“I think David had something to do with the weather,” she said. “It had a break at the most important time. I just kept thinking about him and could hear his voice.

“In April I remember him getting quite emotional and saying ‘why do you want to do all this for me’, and he was quite overwhelmed.

“He would have been crying and he would not have believed it.

“The family were thrilled and it seemed really organised and professional.”

Bikers came from as far afield as Harlow in Essex to give a send-of to Mr Gurney. As the hearse pulled into the chapel the engines let out a chorus of revs as a mark of respect.

Mr Gurney, a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, had been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and the home wanted to do something to lift his spirits.

In April Mr Gurney, a former shoe factory and boatyard worker who moved into Oakwood House in November 2016, said: “This is a once in a lifetime event for me. I thought my motorbike days were behind me but they have come back again. I like the speed and freedom of bikes.”

During his life he owned about four vehicles including his beloved grey Norton 650cc.

Mrs Wilson said: “It was a huge event for him when we had the motorbikes turn out in April.

“Afterwards, I made him a scrapbook with newspaper clippings and photos in it. When I gave it to him he cried because he was so overwhelmed.”

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