From Sheet Metal Worker to Motorcycle Minister: The Inspirational Story of the Faster Pastor and his Sidecar Hearse

Motorcycle Minister

As I look back through the archives of Motorcycle Funerals, I am amazed by the untold stories and forgotten moments from our past. Among these treasures, I stumbled upon an article published in the Financial Times that captured our unique approach to honoring the lives of those who loved the open road.

Paul & Marian moved to Leicestershire. Not for any other reason other than Paul looked at the map, decided it was pretty much in the middle of the country and that he could travel in any direction on the motorway network to get to any funeral director who required his services.

“Now look son, if Tarzan could train a chimpanzee, I’m sure I can do something with you.” In the end I left my apprenticeship and went to Bible college. I had been a Christian since school and had the idea that after my studies I could work on missionary boats because I could use my metal skills to fix them.

But it became apparent my trade wasn’t needed on the ships. I was offered a posting at Kensington Temple and from there I became a minister at a Pentecostal church in Willesden, north-west London. My nickname was the Faster Pastor because I was also a keen motorcyclist.

Then, in 2002, I had a near-fatal accident while I was out riding with my wife. We were in hospital for weeks with serious injuries.

A few years previously, I had seen a photograph of a man who had built a platform next to his bike to carry a coffin. It was a simple design but it was an idea that had stayed with me.

I used to mull over in my head how I could build a proper sidecar hearse. I remember thinking that if I had died the day of my accident, I would have been taken to my funeral in a Volvo. I’m not having that, I thought.

I had been off work for so long that it made sense for me to sign off. I was in pain and not able to give the pastoral care I wanted to. Meanwhile, I decided to design my own sidecar hearse.

It took me three months to build but it was very rudimentary. I had to tie the doors shut with shoelaces because they would open spontaneously.

When people in the hearse industry refused  o be seen driving next to me I realised I needed to re-design. One of the problems was that in a normal the stresses are horizontal. I worked around that and, after three months, I managed to build an industry-standard hearse. It’s a proper sidecar hearse, with windows, air conditioning and a flower rail. I was really proud of my design.

Now, eight and a half years on, I always drive the bike and very occasionally I conduct the service too. I’ve lost count of how many funerals I have done.

If we only get one a day, it’s a quiet time. We get all kinds of people who want to make their last journey on a bike.

We have elderly people who used to take their families out in a sidecar. I recently did a biker’s funeral and we had 100 bikes following. It was quite powerful and great for the family because they had never seen that side of the deceased’s life. If we do a sports biker’s funeral, some of the guys will overtake me doing wheelies and burn-outs.

A common request is for a man who always wanted a bike but his wife wouldn’t let him. Usually at the children’s persuasion, the widow will finally let him have his last journey on a bike.

I have even taken a coffin for a lap around the TT circuit on the Isle of Man. We went at full speed with the family following.

As a pastor, I was taught how to do funerals. I was taught to remind people of the deceased’s life and I think I do it even better now.



Follow us on Social Media

Most Popular

Site Map

Related Posts