The daughters of a popular Barnstaple bike enthusiast who died this week are asking bikers to create a giant funeral convoy for their father’s final ride.
Bikers are being urged to rally together and ‘bring Barnstaple to a standstill’ in memory of a popular bike enthusiast who died this week.
Dennis Pilon, a retired carpenter and ‘Barnstaple boy’, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer two weeks ago, and died, aged 66, on Wednesday.
Dennis was a keen member of the biking community and leaves behind his wife of 45 years Pat, daughters Sharon Neve and Elaine Geraghty, and four grandchildren.
He passed away in his workshop surrounded by his bikes, which he had recently finished rebuilding after the last one was gutted by fire in December 2014.
One last ride
In the days before his death, Dennis, who was born in Barnstaple, managed one final ride-out to Berrynarbor, despite needing to carry an oxygen tank.
His daughter Sharon said her father, a retired carpenter, loved his bikes and was a member of the North Devon British Motorcycle Club.
She said: “Some of his friends had arranged to ride past the house on Wednesday and rev their engines outside so Dad could hear them, but unfortunately he didn’t make it.
“We asked a few of them to follow him up to the chapel of rest and we couldn’t believe it when about 50 of them turned out.
“It was such a comfort. The funeral director said he had never seen anything like it.”
Join the convoy
Sharon said her father would be making his ‘final ride’ in a Triumph sidecar on September 30, and his final wish was to ‘bring Barnstaple to a standstill’.
She is now calling on all bikers to join a convoy from her father’s home to Barnstaple crematorium and make it ‘the biggest escort this town has ever seen’.
Bikers are urged to arrive at Zephyr Crescent in Barnstaple at 1.45pm and follow the convoy to the crematorium for the funeral at 3pm.
And anyone not on a bike who would like to pay their respects is asked to line the streets and give the convoy a wave.
Afterwards bikers are invited to Barnstaple Rugby Club. Sharon added: “Let’s turn it into a new bike show, which we can try to arrange annually from now on.
“It’s what Dad would have wanted – he would have liked to see people talking about their bikes and showing them off.”
Sharon said bikers were coming from as far afield as North Wales, London, Oxfordshire and Derby to pay their respects in the convoy.
“Dad took part in a lot of charity runs and a few funeral convoys himself; the biking community is so wonderful,” added Sharon.
“He was just the biggest, most selfless man, and he’s going to leave a huge hole not only in the family, but in the community.
“Ride free my wonderful father - but I’m sure you’ve already gone through those gates on one wheel!”
Any money donated at the funeral will go to North Devon Hospice.