Popular biker gets a grand send-off

George Shorter from Ulgham
George Shorter from Ulgham

A HIGHLY respected figure in the world of North East motor sport has died at the age of 75.

George Shorter, of Ulgham, owned and rode motorcycles for more than 50 years, taking part in numerous competitions and serving as an observer judge at some of the region’s biggest events.

Sadly, he developed complications after a heart operation and died at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

Dozens of bikers turned out to pay their respects at his funeral on Wednesday and formed an informal guard of honour for Mr Shorter’s final journey to St John the Baptist Church in Ulgham.

Mr Shorter was born in Wallsend into a family which owned pubs across Newcastle and County Durham, but despite his upbringing and close association with the business, he never touched a drop of alcohol himself.

He became a plumber by trade and first moved to Northumberland when he settled in Cramlington.

He later moved to Hepscott, where he lived in Hepscott Hall Cottage, and about 10 years ago he moved into Ulgham Grange Farm to live with his daughter Lesley Anne Newman, her husband Keith and their children Thomas, 16, and James, 13.

Mr Shorter quickly settled into the community and was a regular sight riding his classic bikes and trials motorbikes all over the North East and Scotland.

He served as President of the Seaton Delaval Motor Club and there were always two firm fixtures in his calendar – the Scottish Six Day Trial in Fort William and an annual trip to the Isle of Man for an event in which Vincent motorcycle riders are given the chance to ride the famous TT course.

Away from bikes, Mr Shorter loved spending time with his family. His daughter Lesley Anne said the world of motor sport will be a sadder place without him.

“George was known everywhere and would help anyone at any time,” she said.

“He could fix anything and regularly made parts for his and his friends’ motorbikes. He also had many friends on Druridge Bay, where he walked Barney twice a day, rain or shine.”

Mr Shorter was transported to the Ulgham churchyard in one of his favourite classic British bikes, a vintage Triumph motorcycle with a side hearse, which was driven by one of his close friends.