Comfort for biker's family

PUBLISHED: 10:53 18 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:11 10 June 2010

THE devastated family of Exmouth motorcyclist Simon John Batten have thanked people who attended his funeral for their support.

THE devastated family of Exmouth motorcyclist Simon John Batten have thanked people who attended his funeral for their support.

Mr Batten, 38, was found dead on a cliff-face in Budleigh Salterton, close to the 17th hole of the East Devon Golf Club, in May.

Mourners, who included hundreds of bikers from all over the world, paid their final respects to the former builder at St Peter's Church in Dalwood, last Thursday.

Speaking after the funeral - attended by more than 300 people - Simon's brother, Dave Batten, of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, described the service as incredibly moving and powerful.

He said: "I'm sure the day will live forever in the memory of everyone who was there."

Simon, who was married and whose family come from Dalwood, was a member of the Satan Slaves motorcycle group.

In a fitting tribute, motorcyclists travelled from as far afield as Lancashire, Yorkshire, Germany and Scotland to attend the funeral. Bikers from New Zealand also paid their respects at the service.

A family statement, read out in church, said: "Simon was a wonderful man, fiercely loyal and loving. He will be greatly missed.

"We would like to thank family, friends and particularly all the members of his beloved Satan Slaves club for the comfort and support they have provided at this difficult time."

Bikers joined the funeral cortege, from Axminster to Dalwood. Simon's children rode pillion on motorcycles driven by the Slaves. The vicar, Alastair McCollum, also rode a bike with the hearse before changing into his cassock.

Dave, who started to cry as he reflected on how his family were coping with the loss, added: ""It's devastating - I don't know how to put into words how we are feeling.

"I know I am biased as his brother, but I genuinely never heard anyone say a bad word about him - and that, I think, is how he should be remembered.

"It is just a huge loss to so many people. Simon had a heart of gold.

"I cannot praise the bikers enough. The support they offered us at the funeral was phenomenal. They certainly won new friends in the village.

"Being involved with the biker club was a huge part of Simon's life. It was fitting that they had that last ride-out with him.

"He was a big man with a big heart and will be sorely missed."

l Go online to read further tributes. Visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on obituaries. There is also a video of the funeral cortege.

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