The Armed Forces Bikers’ charity held a minute’s silence at their fundraising rally last night (Tuesday, June 30) and laid a wreath where former biker Colin Murphy died in a crash on Sunday (June 28).
Mr Murphy, 61, from Hastings, was involved in a crash with a Ford Fiesta car while riding his Triumph Legend motorcycle along the A259 Main Road, Icklesham, and died at the scene.
Bikers from across the country visited the rally at The Robin Hood Inn, Icklesham, and paid their respects to Mr Murphy’s son Steve Murphy and daughter Toni Murphy.
“It’s good to come and see everybody, there’s no point sitting around moping, this is our biking family,” Steve said.
The charity hosts the rally every year in aid of ex-servicemen and women in need of support and Lee Miles, who was on BBQ duty, knew Mr Murphy for 26 years.
He said the former painter and decorator was always supportive of the charity.
“He would always put himself out to help others and never had any spare time because he was busy, his van never got cold because he was always doing somebody a favour,” he said.
Mr Murphy spent a lot of time with his fellow bikers at the Carlisle pub, Hastings, and at rallies, and everyone who knew him remembered him as a generous friend.
Kirk Clark and Simon Kenward both knew Mr Murphy for more than 20 years.
“He loved all his family; his proper family and his extended biking family who are all here,” Mr Clark said.
Mr Kenward added: “He’s a guy I partied with, biked with and went and did silly stuff with.
“He used to have super long hair and had it all shaved off a couple of years back for charity.
“But more recently, he’s been quite central to organising little outings for all of our kids, the so-called weekend fun club.”
Mr Murphy lost his granddaughter Alicia to leukaemia in February 2010 and Sarah Upton understood the difficulties he and his family had been through.
“He was an honorary parent in the biking world and a good friend to everybody,” she said.
“He’s been through lots of personal tragedies and he went through it all with dignity, he also helped a lot of people out with their own traumas like my friend who lost her son.
“He was one of those people that was just always there, not the loud, centre-of-attention person, but always there for people and could be relied on. One of life’s nice guys.”
Lee Griffin used to spend most weekends with Mr Murphy, either drinking or on their bikes, especially before their club disbanded.
“Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights down the pub, Sundays spent going for a ride for a fry-up and things like that,” he said.
“When we had the club, we had a rally locally, which we put on for everyone in Sussex, called the Reload Rally which was Colin’s baby.
“I got the message on Sunday and it took the wind out of my sails big time, I sat in shock for most of Sunday and even at work today I was still thinking about it.
“It’s not very nice when we lose one of our own.
“We’re all a big family, we have our arguments, we all love each other.
“But in my eyes I’m glad he went out doing something he enjoyed.”
Mr Murphy’s biking nickname was Papa Smurf and Rick and Rocky from the Hastings-based Norsemen Motorcycle Club Sussex remember him fondly.
“He was a really top bloke and we say farewell to Papa Smurf from all the Norsemen,” Rick said.
Rocky added: “He was always supportive of our rallies and has been down to party with us when we’re not at the rallies so he’s going to be missed off the biking circuit.”
Many of the bikers, including Rick and Rocky, suggested a mandatory year’s experience on a bike or moped before getting a car to make drivers more aware of bikers and to appreciate the hazards involved.
“You would find out just how vulnerable you are on a bike and also realise just what is involved judgement-wise,” Rocky said.
Rick added: “We’ve lost a lot of friends this way and unfortunately, he won’t be the last.”
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