MORE than 1200 people have attended the funeral of motorcycle rider Tyrone Marley Gilks, 19, who died last Thursday while practising for a world title jump at Maitland.
Pastor Mark Zaia of the Macquarie Life church at Cardiff said it was the biggest funeral in 20 years at the church.
Eulogies from Tyrone’s JC FMX team mate Jim Bartle, his older brother Morgan, sister Sammy and father Kevin told of an energetic, enthusiastic individual who lived life to the fullest.
The church was very important to the Gilks family. Morgan’s 888 number plate stood for the Holy Spirit while Tyrone’s 777 represented Jesus.
The ‘‘JC’’ in the JC FMX team’s name was short for Jesus Christ.
Members of various motorcycle clubs including the God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club and the Gladiators attended in large numbers in their colours.
At the end of yesterday’s funeral, long lines of mourners trooped slowly to the front of the church to cover Tyrone’s casket with ‘‘777’’ stickers.
The coffin was carried out through a guard of honour and on to his burial yesterday afternoon at Catherine Hill Bay cemetery.
The Macquarie Road, Cardiff, church was packed to overflowing more than half an hour before the service began at 10am, with about 600 people in the main auditorium and as many again watching the service on monitors in other areas of the building.
There were smiles and laughter as Tyrone’s exploits and sense of humour were remembered.
But there were also many tears, especially during a moving address from elder brother Morgan, who said that Tyrone – whose nickname was Bear – had shown everyone ‘‘a new way of living, a new way of riding and a new way of living life to the fullest for every single second’’.
The funeral program included an excerpt from a poem Tyrone had put on his phone on February 12.
It said: ‘‘I live my life without compromise, and step into shadow without complaint or regret.
‘‘Live your life, but the fear of death can never enter your heart.’’
Pastor Zaia said anyone wondering why Tyrone’s parents would allow him to take such risks had to realise that kids could not be kept in cotton wool.
He said the death of a 19-year-old posed a difficult sort of grief but in the end ‘‘the boy who could fly kept on flying’’.
Tyrone’s accident happened while he was practising for a world record jump attempt scheduled for last Saturday’s Maitland Bike and Hot Rod Show, which was organised by the Maitland chapter of the Gladiators.
Speaking for himself and his wife, Rebekah, Tyrone’s father Kevin said ‘‘our son didn’t do things by halves; if he thought he could do it he would give it his best shot’’.