It is with great sadness that we report the death of John Hannon, who passed away on Sunday 8th June 2014, after losing his battle with cancer.
John was a regular attendee at our Wakefield MAG meetings and events for many years, stopping only recently when he started a course of chemotherapy. John was a lifelong biker who had owned 74 bikes in his time, including many classic British bikes, but latterly had a succession of Japanese bikes. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the roads of Yorkshire, and led many Wakefield MAG rideouts, using brilliant roads and routes, all completely from memory.
John was a true Yorkshireman who rarely ventured outside God's own County. His only foray abroad was a bike touring trip to France with the Five Towns MCC, of which he was a founder member. He didn't like France, but when pushed as to the reasons why, it was because you couldn't get Roast Dinners and Fish and Chips, and the sandwiches were made with long thin bread ..... you can take the man out of Yorkshire, but not Yorkshire out of the man !!! If you wanted a rock solid recommendation as to where to go for a good Sunday Dinner in Yorkshire, you didn't bother checking the Internet, you just asked John !!!
John wasn't too keen on getting up early on a Sunday morning, once we voted to start the rideouts earlier - he blamed years of early shifts at the pit, then as a baker, so that now he had retired, he was getting up early for no one (it didn't stop him coming on the rideouts of course, he'd just meet us en-route, from a point closer to his house in Altofts, so he didn't have to get up as early).
John was a highly skilled and competent rider. Martin recalls following him back from Cadwell Park once in the p1ssing rain .... "I've never ridden as fast in the wet, scary but confident as I was following 'Yoda'". He was good with riding advice and helped Lorna out when she was not so confident on corners, advising her to follow his line on corners on a rideout, which she duly did and so gained her confidence. He loved bike racing and also told me he had himself raced at the IoM TT (having just watched this years racing on E4, you realise that anyone racing there literally has Balls of Steel !!!!).
John had to downsize his bike to a 250cc a couple of years ago when his hip was causing him problems (he blamed years of kick starting old British bikes for wearing his hip out). However, following a hip replacement operation, he rapidly 'upsized' and his 250 was quickly traded in for a Suzuki SV650, which was the last bike he owned.
John was a hugely entertaining man, who regaled many stories to an enthralled audience at the Wakefield MAG meetings. He was a bloke with a grumpy exterior, wicked sense of humour (many a witty comment made with a glint in his eye) and a kind heart. He gave us lots of laughs and he will be missed very much.
He was a regular at Squires, and always ensured he had the winning bid at our Post Christmas Auction to win the Squires Roast Dinner for two, for himself and June. He was a real character and it is sad to say they probably broke the mould when they made John.
It is very sad indeed to lose another one of our much loved Wakefield MAG 'family' (having also lost John's good friend Dave Taylor, earlier in the year). Our thoughts are with his beloved wife June, and his family.
R.I.P. John, you will be sorely missed.
John's funeral was held on Friday 20th June, and was attended by over twenty past and present Wakefield MAG members, some of whom had travelled from the FYP site in Helmsley. Some 40+ bikes assembled in Altofts and rode to Normanton Catholic Church, leading the family cars.
The church was full, not just of bikers, but family and John's many friends. A collection afer the service raised 400 pounds towards the Prince of Wales Hospice, where John had spent his final few weeks.
Bikes then formed an impressive cavalcade to escort the coffin to Pontefract Crematorium.
John had wanted lot's of bikes at his funeral and he certainly got his wish.
A memorial bench had been organised and contributed to, by many of John's good friends, initially for Dave Taylor, but an additional plaque was quickly added for John. This was delivered to Squires Cafe on Monday 23rd June, and a large party of John's friends and family went along to see it 'installed'.
We were all very pleased that John's wife June came along to see the memorial bench placed at Squires.
A fitting tribute to two much loved Wakefield MAG members.