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, those who knew Paul will completely understand when we say, he was a master of promotion and certainly not a shy or retiring character! Within weeks of launching Motorcycle Funerals, he was featured in pretty much every national newspaper and was on countless TV programmes.
While he only had one hearse at that point, soon he began to design another one which would become our original Harley Davidson. It was around this time that Ann came on board in the office and her husband Simo was our bike expert.
Once the Harley was built, it was then time to think about what would come next. We had the classic British bike, the iconic American bike so what needed to happen next? Well, according to Paul, the choice was obvious.
It had to be the fastest production road bike in the world at the time…..the Suzuki Hayabusa.
Years later, Paul took the Hayabusa hearse down Elvington Race Track and has the Guiness World Record for Fastest Motorcycle Hearse in the world!
With three hearses and with the help of friends who rode outfits, Paul realised it was time to hire a full time rider and this is where Lucy joined the team.
Between them both, they took this tiny company and put it on track for what it has become today.
Lucy left to start her own funeral directors and the company grew and grew to what it is today.
We would take calls all the time to appear in different articles and TV shows and it wasn’t always possible to do them all.
A few Paul said yes to that we absolutely loved. Two Feet in the Grave with Richard Wilson and Robbie Coltrane’s B-Road Britain were real highlights for him.
We think it was because Richard and Robbie are both Scottish so they could understand what Paul was saying in his heavy Glaswegian accent.
Motorcycle Funerals was going from strength to strength with a wealth of hearses to choose from and fantastic staff. Paul didn’t have a clue what it meant to slow down. Although he did make some time for the occasional holiday, this was extremely rare.
A few years ago Paul was diagnosed with a brain tumor. At the time, he didn’t really tell anyone. Determined that it wasn’t too much to worry about initially. Pop into hospital, have it whipped out and then go to work the next day was pretty much the thinking.
After the hospital visit came other therapy and the founder of Motorcycle Funerals sadly died in March 2019 aged just 53 years old.
Now Paul’s big personality, his absolute dedication for everything to be perfect and just because if anyone deserved it, he did, then his funeral had to match the man. So, the only thing we knew was a decade ago, Paul had said to Lucy that “When I die, make sure I go on the Hayabusa.” Well that was easy enough but we knew we could do more.
Friday night, the amazing people at Donnington Race Track let us take Paul around it. He always moaned that he never got to go around it for a funeral service so we needed to make it happen for him.
He was accompanied there by the hearses and riders that had returned from working for funeral directors that day.
On the way back to the Unit which is the home of Motorcycle Funerals, Paul had a “last blast.” If you know, then you know! He spent the night in the Unit surrounded by the hearses he had built and with a member of his old staff keeping him company overnight.
The next morning, his staff started arriving at 7am to make sure everything was perfect.
There was a production line of wash bays and polishing happening for a couple of hours and was a real hive of activity. With the help of past and present riders along with some of Paul’s friends, every single one of his hearses accompanied him to his funeral.
In the end, Paul was taken in his beloved Suzuki Hayabusa, the very first hearse he ever built, the Triumph Speed Triple and then he was taken to the cemetery in the very newest Triumph Bonneville.
Paul built this company because he wanted bikers to be able to travel to their funeral on a bike. He built the company so that elderly people who brought up their children using a motorbike and sidecar could feel that bit of nostalgia travelling to a funeral service.
- He built the company so that children could travel in a cool bike rather than a huge, imposing car.
- He built the company for the men and women who were never ‘allowed’ to have a motorbike or had to give them up once children came along.
- He built the company because ultimately, it was the way he wanted to go.
Paul built something really special and we are going to continue to keep it and look after it how he wanted us to.