BIKERS formed a procession of motorcycles to honour the life of a colleague whose tragic death brought shock and grief to their club.
Yesterday (Tuesday) members of West Middlesex Motorcycle Club (WMMC) led the hearse through the streets to Breakspear Crematorium for the funeral of Simon Lawrence.
Around 33 bikes, including a large three-wheeled machine, took part in the ride from the funeral home in West End Road, Ruislip, and all passengers were dressed in black leathers.
The riders were given a police escort and the atmospere at the crematorium was kept upbeat in line with the family's request it not be a sombre occasion.
Mr Lawrence, who was 55, died at the scene of a hit-and-run in Harvil Road, Ickenham, on June 4 when his Kawasaki was hit by a Toyota which failed to stop and was later found abandoned in Harefield.
His friends discovered his body short-ly afterwards and have since taken part in a procession, called a ride-out, to lay flowers at the scene near Skip Lane.
The funeral, which was renamed as a celebration of life by his family, gave everyone a chance to share memories of the man from Yiewsley who was nicknamed 'Bootneck' due to having been in the Marines.
His sister Alison Roberts, of Oidham, Hampshire, said: "Simon was a total free spirit. I thought he was a bit of a loner but having met all his friends in the bike club I can see that was not the case."
Mr Lawrence was born in Balham, South London, to Ronald Lawrence, a reporter, and Shirley Maddams who emigrated to Canada when he was only nine months old.
His father wrote many books on wildlife as well as keeping pet wolves before being divorced from his mother who then moved back to Britain after eight years with both children to live in St Lawrence Drive, Eastcote.
Simon got a job after leaving school as an apprentice with British Gas before joining the Royal Marines when he was in his early 20s. He was posted to Lympstone, Dorset, and served on a ship which toured the world in the company of HRH The Prince of Wales.
He bought himself out after six years and moved to Staines where he got married and started working as a builder. He was divorced six years later and moved to High Street, Yiewsley, where he finally joined WMMC.
It meets every Wednesday night in the Crown pub in Colham Green Road.
Mrs Roberts said: "Simon loved bikes his whole life. We actually took our tests the same day only I passed and he failed!
"I did not know much about the club but I have since found out he was very highly thought of.
"They do a lot of charity work and he loved being a member."
Referring to the crash which killed her brother she said: "I prepared for this possibility my whole life but it still came as a huge blow. Bikers often lead charmed lives but no one deserves this kind of end.
"I only hope whoever was responsible is caught and gets a lengthy sentence."
Steve Thornley, who was good friends with Simon as a fellow WMMC member, said: "He was a true friend to us all and will be very sadly missed."
Mr Lawrence is survived by his sister, mother, and two nephews Brett and Bradley.