Simon Batten: biker's brother pays tribute

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

THE devastated family of 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 pe ple - Simon's brother, Dave Batten, from Sleaford, Lincolnshire, described the service as incredibly moving and powerful. He said: "I'm sure the day will live in the memory of everyone who was there forever."Simon, who was married and whose family come from Dalwood, was a member of the Satan's 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's 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 it 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.