A POPULAR motorcycling enthusiast has died following a short battle with cancer.
Jim Bates was said to have been well-known across Burton and Swadlincote due to his involvement with motorcycling and triking groups in the area, as well as a number of other roles he served in what was a busy life.
Away from the motorcycling scene, Jim, who lived in Stoneydale Close, Newhall, was a popular figure in pubs and clubs in the area as a disco host.
His working life saw him spend working in the pits at the Cadley Hill coal mine, while he was also involved in the building of the former Bargates shopping centre, in Burton, where his family claim he worked on ‘the biggest crane in the country’.
In his later years, he worked with elderly disabled people, driving for Swadlincote Community Transport.
He was married to wife Verona for 57 years and also had two children and two grandchildren.
He was diagnosed with cancer in November, and though his family were warned Jim only had months to live, his death so soon after discovering he was ill has left them in shock.
The couple met during the 1950s as their parents both owned pubs.
Mrs Bates said: “He was very well known all over the country. He was just a popular person.
“When I met him he had a Rolls Royce. I fell in love with him and his car.
“He put his heart and soul into everything he did, and whatever he did he got to the top.
“We were told by the doctor that he only had about three months, but it has still come as a shock.”
But it was in the motorcycling world where Jim is best known.
As a member of The Unforgiven motorcycling club he would take part in rallies across the region, while there was also the Newhall Trikers, of which daughter Tarnya Laud said: “If you were in the family, you were a member of the Newhall Trykers, like it or not.”
A motorcycle procession will lead from his home in Stoneydale Close to Bretby Crematorium, where his funeral will be held, next Thursday.
Mrs Laud added: “He was fun-loving and always kind to everyone. He was a true gentleman.”