AROUND 250 bikers rode in a huge convoy to pay tribute to Christopher ‘Bez’ Ellis who died of cancer aged 54.
Bez and his wife Wendy who had known each other for 16 years lived on a narrowboat moored at the Brighouse basin until Bez’s illness made it too difficult for him to get on and off the boat.
He was chairman of the Bridge Rats MCC, Hebden Bridge, and was well known within the biking community.
Ahead of his funeral at Park Wood, Elland, the bikers from several motorcycle clubs assembled at Heath Rugby Club, West Vale, where his beloved Rat Pack Rally was held.
Motorcycle marshalls led the convoy which made an impressive spectacle to other road users.
Mrs Ellis, 45, said: “His BMW bike was his passion but we had to sell it due to the cancer. I was the second love of his life, which I didn’t mind.
“I called him my gentle giant - he was 6ft 5in, with huge hands. He could pick up a washing machine in one hand.
“He found out he was ill because he would not stop coughing. He thought it was part of getting old. But he had lung cancer and it progressed from there. The doctors gave him six months to live but he fought it for 18 months. He was very positive about his illness. He was a man of few words and never raised his voice in anger.
“The hospice staff were marvellous, to them everyone is unique. We bikers have a different way of life and etiquette but they took that on board.”
Club vice-chairman Andy Nicholson said he had lost a great mate. “Bez was one of the best men I ever met,” he said. “We are one big family in the biking community and we help each other out.”
Club secretary Janette Buchan said Bez was very highly respected and “loved to bits” by all those who knew him. “We expected loads of bikers to turn up for our gentle giant,” she said.
Donations in lieu of flowers will be given to Overgate Hospice, Elland.
He also leaves two sons, a stepson and brother.
The Bridge Rats was formed in 1993 and has dozens of members.