Paul and Marian Sinclair

The legendary Funeral

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Alan Turner’s Funeral Harley Davidson Hearse (Emmerdale ITV)

Following coverage in The Scottish Sunday Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Radio Times, Soaplife and Digital Spy etc., I can break cover on Alan Turner’s Funeral. Emmerdale

Alan Turner’s Harley Davidson hearse funeral

In 1972 the 1st episode of Emmerdale was centered around a funeral with both an automobile hearse and a wheeled hand bier. In 2013 the 6699th episode is centred around the funeral of motorbike buff Alan Turner, who was played for thirty-one years by Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiast the late Richard Thorp, with an authentic motorcycle hearse. Emmerdale wanted our Harley, but we had taken it out of service and just like a real funeral had less than two weeks notice. With everything for our new sidecar-hearse to hand, but at that moment no fitter or Harley, could we really have a Harley hearse on time?

To say yes and fail would ruin our reputation forever!

“Yes, we can do it.”

Darce Vader in the Motorcycle Funerals Limited workshop

We located a stunning Electra Glide similar to Richard Thorp’s motorbike and I phoned Jim D’arcy, the D’arce Vader of sidecars, at the TT, to help us. A few long hours later…

The legendary Freddie Jones

Three three seriously cool Harleys led at the front, followed by the Harley Electra Glide and sidecar-hearse, some BSAs, an AJS and an adventure bike, but without doubt Freddie Jones on his mobility scooter put us all in the shade. So refreshing to work with someone from the Goggles generation rather than the Google. Upon hearing my accent he launched into Rabbie

Burns and quoted the full passages, not just the famous parts. It’s inspiring to spend time with someone so passionate about their vocation and for Freddie poetry is a love, not just a bunch of lines to memorise.

Alan Turner’s coffin on the Emmerdale Electra Glide Hearse

This is a national soap that knows its funerals so they were keen to pick my brain on my twelve years of motorcycle funerals and made every effort to get Alan Turner’s final ride as authentic as possible. The wonderful Ros Aynsley in particular was careful to listen to my experience on everything from the flowers through to the helmet and leather jacket arrangement on the coffin itself.

Alan Turner’s coffin in the sidecar hearse

The Emmerdale team even picked some of the outriders from a club called ‘The Undertakers,’ how appropriate!

Paul with two members of The Undertakers Riders Club

Having appeared on the very first episode on 16th October 1972 Bryn Dennis is Emmerdale’s longest standing actor and obviously knew Richard Thorp, so it meant a lot to see that our Electra Glide motorcycle and sidecar hearse received his approval.

Bryn Dennis is Emmerdale’s longest standing actor

Emmerdale – 30th October 2013 – ITV

Outside The Woolpack with my assistant Nadine Knew.

Harley Davidson Road King

Nothing on earth sounds or feels the same as an authentic Harley Davidson. For the genuine Harley Davidson experience, you need the genuine Harley Davidson!

You’re looking at the king of the road. Our Harley Davidson Road Kings are the latest to be added to our fleet, the name speaks for itself.

Harley fans need to fear not: it’s like the old, only a little bit better.

We are hoping that even in the family’s moment of grief it will bring a smile. Where your loved one can remain by your side on that final ride, no matter the weather.

Suzuki Hayabusa

“You did The Ton with my brother; that meant so much.”

As the fastest motorcycle hearses in the world our Suzuki Hayabusas provide the Ultimate Send Off for the Ultimate Riders.These are fast, sleek and popular with racers, marshals, sport enthusiasts and people who lived life in the fast lane.


We set the first official motorcycle hearse speed record in 2002 and beat it with our Hayabusa hearse in 2004. Recently Guinness recognised the category so we were presented with the Guinness World Record for fastest motorcycle hearse.

Our Hayabusas have been track tested by Straightliners and Fast Bikes Magazine, featured on Fifth Gear (Channel 5), Robbie Coltrane’s B-Road Britain (ITV), Richard and Judy (ITV), Jonathan Ross (BBC1) and numerous regional television news programmes.

Triumph Thunderbird

The Triumph Thunderbird is a traditional British twin, a 1600cc twin at that! This bike is so powerful it may appeal to classic train enthusiasts! Built in Great Britain this outfit is fast proving popular with the largest range of people, from classic bike enthusiasts through to people who simply want something stunning, sensational and stylish. As with all British specification hearses and the rest of our fleet it has a pillion seat, flower rail, secure hearse fittings, internal temperature control, a glass roof to light up the coffin and flowers.

“On behalf of myself and all our family a big big Thank you so much for helping us give dad a final motorbike ‘ride ‘ … he would have loved it, which is why I shook the ‘chauffeurs’ hand. Thanks again… The Attenborough family.”

Triumph Bonneville

Traditionally styled this ‘Proper British Bike’ was built completely in Great Britain and is popular with the broadest spectrum of people and motorcycle enthusiasts alike. As with all British specification hearses and the rest of our fleet it has a Funeral Director’s pillion seat, flower rail, secure hearse fittings, internal temperature control for warm weather and de-misting with a combination of glass roof and internal lights to display both flowers and artefacts.

“What a beautiful outfit.” “A Proper British Bike.”

Our quintessential British bikes have been featured on The One Show BBC1, Richard Wilson’s Two feet in the Grave BBC1, Robbie Coltrane’s B-Road Britain ITV, Richard O’Brien’s Dead Strange ITV, Inside Out on BBC1, Doctors BBC1 and numerous regional news programmes.

World Record

Straightliners have now processed all the evidence needed for The Guinness Book of World Records for the various world records set under their auspices in 2013. My own record was set on the Elvington strip where I rode the now derestricted Suzuki Hayabusa hearse west-east at 126.6mph and east-west at 124.8mph. For the official world record the average of 125.7mph at the one mile mark is used. The goal was to prove just how stable and well built our rigid vehicles are in comparison to bendy hearses or trailers and on this video you can see clearly how rock solid these outfits are even when flat out. It was a bit of a jump from the  practice run at 115.2 mph to 126.6 mph in 2013, but as the Hayabusa outfit was properly set up there was no need to weigh it down with a heavy coffin for stability. In fact, as you can see, we had no need for additional weighting at all.

The Elvington strip tests prove just how stable and agile an authentic motorbike and sidecar hearse is at all speeds, that a proper rigid vehicle is still better than a bendy hearse and that professionals can provide something families can be proud of, the best!

Institute of Civil Funerals Conference

As religious and humanist funeral services fall in popularity The Institute of Civil Funerals has grown in strength, size and influence over the last eight years with members carrying out over 20,000 funerals in that time. The IoCF run an annual conference where they invite specialists, analysts and achievers. Speakers ranging from atheists to theists will obviously have differing views, thus forcing delegates to weigh things up for themselves, ask questions and think. In 2008 I was invited to speak on motorcycle funerals as I am the expert in that field. This was a real honour, went down well and I thought that was the end of that, so to find myself invited as Keynote speaker in 2012 knocked me over. It would be pointless telling the best civil celebrants in the UK how to take a service, but what I could do was help them with ‘The Faster Pastor’s Pastoral Tips’. People who don’t know The Lord asking for a non-religious funeral service makes perfect sense, but it does take them away from an environment of pastoral guidance and care, so it is vital the celebrants they turn to learn all they can about pastoring.

British Institute of Funeral Directors – National Association of Funeral Directors

Many thanks to Paul Sinclair for attending our meeting on Wednesday. What a lovely man. He certainly had his work cut out trying to make 30 funeral directors smile, but eventually he did. Would highly recommend him if anyone needs a speaker, or a different mode of transport for a funeral. Thank you Paul. xx  Janice Hutton.

Ferno are an astonishing international company who design, develop, test and sell ambulance, paramedic and funeral stretchers as well as other vital equipment for lifting injured or dead people. Hosting the joint meeting of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) with the British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD) in Yorkshire they proved they were just as local as they are international by serving up pies with mushy peas! The National Association of Funerals Directors aim to be the Voice of the Profession as they represent their members at government level and the British Institute of Funeral Directors aim to set the standard for training across the whole of the UK. As Supplier members of the NAFD and guests of the BIFD I hardly needed to waste folks time with a sales pitch so spoke instead of some biblical issues that I’m sure will help the delegates both as individuals and in their businesses. That said my wee model proved a hit. Boys and their toys… men and their sidecars!

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