Tributes paid to loving Sporle biker “Emy”

TRIBUTES have been paid to a Harley Davidson biker with a 'heart of gold' who died at his 60th birthday party.

William Emmerson, known as 'Emy', was dancing and chatting, even giving the thumbs up before suddenly collapsing with an undiagnosed heart condition.

Describing him as her 'true soul mate', his wife Debbie said the 59-year-old lorry driver died the way he would have wanted to – surrounded by friends and family and without pain.

'It could have happened at any time,' she said. 'It was the best way for him to go. Emy certainly lived his life. He was a big, rough tough biker, but he had a heart of gold and never hurt anybody.

'He meant so much to so many people. He was happiest when he was on his bike or with his family. We made each other very happy.'

Mr Emmerson, of Sporle, had a daughter Hannah, 23, and a son Lewis, 20, with Debbie, and also leaves four children from a previous marriage, 12 grandchildren and one grandson.

'All my mates knew him, he was a legend,' Lewis said. 'If I was going out, I always wanted to go with him. He could see the good in everyone and he gave everyone a chance.'

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Mrs Emmerson said he was proud of all his children and was idolised by his three-year-old granddaughter, Millie, who he loved to tease.

His softer side also showed through his love for the family's Staffordshire bull terrier, Harley, who has whined for Mr Emmerson since his death.

'Millie has been told that grandad is living in the stars, having a party with the angels,' Mrs Emmerson said. 'We are such a close family, I think that's what's getting us through.'

The couple, rarely seen apart, were together for 31 years and were looking forward to their 25th wedding anniversary next year. They shared a love of Harley Davidson motorcycles over the last ten years and were active members of the East Coast Harley Club.

Mr Emmerson was worried the snow would keep people away from his 60th party, held in Swaffham on November 27 - just days before his actual birthday.

But more than 150 friends and family celebrated with him, enjoying music performed by his favourite local band.

'A lovable rogue in his early days, he had endeared himself to all who know him – simply by being himself,' Mrs Emmerson said. 'He worked hard, and played hard! There was no pretence in Emy and that is why so many people loved him.'

Between 500 and 600 mourners attended Mr Emmerson's funeral in Swaffham earlier this month, including a number of bikers on their Harley Davidsons and Harley the dog.

He had a customized, black coffin and music included Wild Thing and Give Me All Your Lovin' by ZZ Top.

Mrs Emmerson said: 'Recently, while I was in Tenerife with Hannah, Emy phoned me and said 'it feels like half of me is missing' – that's exactly how I feel now. I just can't believe he's gone.

'He has left me with a fantastic family, a very wide and varied circle of extremely good friends, and many, many happy memories.'

o Mrs Emmerson would like to thank everyone who attended the funeral and sent cards.