Eccleshill mum moved by biking tribute to soldier son
Monday 6th May 2013
By Rhys Thomas, T&A Reporter
A cavalcade of motorbikes paid an emotional tribute on the 21st birthday of a fallen Bradford soldier.
More than 30 Royal British Legion bikers gathered for the Ride of Respect in memory of Private Christopher Kershaw, of Idle, who died with five other troops in an explosion in Afghanistan in March last year.
Private Kershaw, who was 19 at the time, would have been celebrating his landmark 21st birthday yesterday.
His mum, Monica Kershaw, who cooked breakfast for all the bikers at her home on Farm Hill Road, Eccleshill, yesterday morning before joining them on the ride, said: “It is quite emotional.
“I was all right until everyone turned up – I think the roaring of the bikes got to me.”
Mrs Kershaw, who was wearing a special biker jacket that had a painting of Private Kershaw on the back, added: “I cannot thank them all enough for coming from all over the place to support Christopher on his Ride of Respect.
“I was not expecting this many, but everyone has turned up.
“Chris would have loved it – he would have been bouncing from bike to bike.”
The ride, about 55 miles, started at Mrs Kershaw’s house and finished in Hipswell, near Catterick, where Private Kershaw’s ashes are. Bikers, some who came from as far afield as Wales, the Midlands, Manchester, Wirral and Pontefract, wrote messages to Private Kershaw before they set off on the ride. The messages will form part of a photo album Mrs Kershaw is putting together to mark her son’s birthday.
Rod Walker, the Legion’s Yorkshire region representative, said: “It is about remembering Christopher and the guys who served with him. “We are here to show our respects to those who have fallen – it is something we feel strongly about. “It is also Monica’s way of saying thank you to the riders for the support we have given her.”
Mrs Kershaw said: “I want to thank the British Legion for all the help they have given us, and the help they have given me. They have looked after me and I am very grateful for that.”
Biker Andy Bass, 42, said: “We will stand and support any ex-Forces. Today is special as it would have been Christopher’s 21st – and if the weather stays fine, it will be a good ride.”
After leaving Mrs Kershaw’s home, watched by neighbours, the ride stopped at Private Kershaw’s grave in Idle for 30 minutes, before travelling on to Hipswell. Private Kershaw, a former pupil of Hanson School, was a member of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment. He was the youngest of the six men killed in the blast.