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New Palgrave funeral firm offers unique “last ride”

Alec (left) with son Christopher, who has started his own business called Funeral Motorcycles. Photo: Lucy Kayne ANL-141230-161138001
Alec (left) with son Christopher, who has started his own business called Funeral Motorcycles. Photo: Lucy Kayne ANL-141230-161138001

A new firm in Palgrave has become only the second in the country to offer a unique ‘last ride.’

Funeral Motorcycles, founded by Alec Butcher last year, provides “a different option to those who want to use a motorbike hearse for that final ride.”

Alec, 55, who is helped by his son Christopher, 28, describes himself as a life-long biker, and has decades of experience in the sector, having started out working in a public mortuary in a hospital in Surrey and St Faith’s Crematorium, Norwich.

Later qualifying as a funeral director, he worked for Peter Taylor Funeral Service in Norwich, before taking responsibility for the Beccles, Bungay and Halesworth offices of Rosedale Funeral Home for five years.

They offer a Harley Davidson Fat Boy and the 2300cc Triumph Rocket 3, both with an open sidecar hearse, as well as a more traditional limousine, and are willing to travel anywhere in the United Kingdom.

They recently received an enquiry from Northern Ireland, while the unique design, built at Hedingham Sidecars in Essex, uses standard hearse fittings.

Alec said he had the intention of running his own business about a year ago, with the firm finally getting up and running in the summer.

“I racked my brains and suddenly, one day, it came,” he explained.

“That was the obvious thing and I could not believe I had not thought of it.

“Have a motorbike with a sidecar that’s a hearse and do that for a living.

“I am working at the moment on marketing and letting people know we are there.”

While admitting leaving a job to start his own company is a risk, Alec believes the uniqueness will prove to be a big draw for the business.

“It is a plunge because a funeral director’s position is a nice, steady position and you get known in your area, and it is nice to work for people you know,” he said.

“There was an element of risk to it.

“You are putting your own money in something which is a niche market, but there is only one other company in Britain which does this service.

“It was a gamble that people would like the open-hearse outfit.

“But it has been received so well at shows that we ordered a second hearse using a Triumph Rocket 3.

“The open sidecar reflects the essence of motorcycling and lets you take your last ride out in the open.”

But who is the target market for such a unique service?

“The target market is probably in the main people who ride motorbikes,” said Alec. “I think there is always a small amount of people who want something different and I think they will be very interested as well.”

For more information visit www.funeralmotorcycles.co.uk, or call 07585 099572.

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