Granddaughter hoping Harley-Davidson riders will turn out to escort motorbike enthusiast grandfather's funeral procession
PUBLISHED: 09:00 12 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:21 12 January 2020
The family of a motorbike enthusiast are hoping to make his final wish come true by having a Harley-Davidson escort at his funeral.
John Smith, from Norwich, fell in love with bikes from a young age and told his family his request before he died on December 29.
The motorbike fan, who was unable to ride himself after contracting polio aged five, would often ride as a passenger or fix up bikes in his spare time.
His granddaughter Caitlyn Taylor said if riders, especially of Harley-Davidsons, could attend it would be the perfect send off for her 'hero' granddad.
She said: "He was very inspirational, very encouraging. If you felt you couldn't do something he would tell you that you could do it twice.
"He was really funny, he would just make everyone laugh, if you met him for five minutes he would have you in stitches.
"He came up with the idea himself, he talked about it a lot and we thought we would see if we could make that happen.
"It would mean the world to him. He loved the noise and it would be such a great send off."
Mr Smith, who was 68 when he died, grew up in Lakenham. In his 40s he owned a Suzuki 125 which was modified to allow him to ride.
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His granddaughter said: "He was a real biker who unfortunately just couldn't ride alone. Harley-Davidsons in particular, he loved how smooth the sound was. They are a prestige brand and he just loved them."
She said within the biking community he was known as Johnny Smith, the man with the iron legs.
He lived with polio from the age of five which affected his right leg.
Miss Taylor said: "He was quite an outgoing person. He loved the outdoors, always had, always will.
"He lived with it [polio] his whole life. He did not let it control him. If he wanted to walk somewhere he would do it.
"His response would be 'why would I let something control me that I haven't chosen?'"
As well as a love for motorbikes, Mr Smith enjoyed fishing and shooting practice.
He leaves behind his wife, three children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
The funeral will take place on January 27 at 12.30pm. Bikes are asked to meet at 12pm at Rydal Close NR5 8LT to follow to Earlham Crematorium.