Tributes have been paid to a motorcycle enthusiast who dedicated 40 years of his life to instructing other riders, only stopping, aged 79, when he could not get insurance.
Syd Crane received the British Empire Medal in 1993 for his efforts to training novice riders in the county, which he did from 1964 until 2004.
A former Royal Air Force firefighter and Northampton Motoryclists Club member, Mr Crane also loved the ukelele, and once played a show with the Beverley Sisters singing trio.
Mr Crane, of Westone, died aged 89 on February 16. Described by his family as a “small man with a big personality,” Mr Crane had pre-paid for his own funeral, and left a sticky note on the paperwork telling his family to contact the Chron when he died to write a piece about him.
Born to Herbert and Winifred on August 5, 1924, Mr Crane grew up in Weston Favell village. He went to Cedar Road then Clare Street schools, and was a chorister at St Edmund’s Church.
After serving in the RAF and dedicating his life to instructing riders, he was given a British Empire Medal for services to motorcycle safety, which was described as his “proudest moment.” He was also a keen scrambling spectator and loved the Wild and Woolly event. He was also a lifelong Northampton Town football fan.
Mr Crane is survived by his wife Margaret, who he married on June 24, 1944. They had one daughter, Wendy, a granddaughter Luisa, and great-grandaughter Olivia.
Luisa said: “Syd started working part-time for the county’s Road Safety team in 1964 as an instructor for the Auto Cycle Union training scheme. He worked every day of the week until the age of 79, getting countless bikers through their compulsory basic training. In fact, the only reason he stopped was because the council could no longer insure him. By that time, he’d dedicated more than 40 years to being a motorcycle instructor. If you talk to anyone who undertook their basic training during that time in Northampton, most would say they knew Syd.
“Bossy, stubborn and impatient until the end, but these qualities would have stood him in good stead to be the great motorcycle instructor he was. He was a small man with a big personality.”
Mr Crane’s funeral will be held at Northampton Crematorium on Tuesday, March 4, at 11am.