Bromley and Bexley Archdeacon revs it up
Hundreds of bikers rode to a special cathedral service paying tribute to those who have lost their lives on the road.
The first ceremony of its kind, held at Rochester Cathedral on Sunday, featured an address by the Archdeacon of Bromley and Bexley Paul Walker, of The Glebe, Chislehurst.
Famous biker groups including the Hells Angels, White Trash and the Tsunami Riders Motorcycle Club attended the historical service, billed as a ‘celebration of biking and remembrance of lost friends’.
Dr Paul Wright, who rides a Harley Davidson, said: “We wanted to give thanks for the joy of biking but also remember those who have sadly died as a result of it but are still remembered by their friends.
“It was a moving service, some people got upset when they lit their candles, but it was a good atmosphere.
“I crashed when I was 19 going around a bend, I went straight in to a brick wall but lived to tell the tale. When I had a family I packed it in — my wife wanted a car instead — but I picked it up again about 10 years ago.”
Chislehurst resident Dr Wright, used to have his motorbike serviced by mechanic and Hells Angel Gerry Tobin who was notoriously shot dead in 2007 as he rode home to Mottingham at 90mph on the M40, returning from biker event Bulldog Bash in Warwickshire.
Seven members of the Outlaws gang were jailed for life in 2008 for the shocking murder which shook the motorcycle world to its core. Mr Tobin was completely innocent, and targeted merely for being a Hells Angel — he was unknown to the gang.
Dr Wright added: “It was devastating, a real shock. He seemed like such a nice, quiet guy. It was very strange that he was murdered.”
Asked if he knew of any criminal activity in the biking community, he laughed: “No, I’m more of the mid-life crisis group — some of us have beards and we dress in leathers but like going to tea shops and ordering five cream teas.”
Music was provided by the Rochester Cathedral Choir and visiting rock band The Loose Cannons, who played Sweet Home Alabama.
Prayers included the Lord’s Prayer and a bikers’ prayer.