Fundraising evening at Wisbech coffee shop raises hundreds of pounds in memory of two bikers
PUBLISHED: 17:24 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:34 26 November 2018
A family-run Wisbech coffee shop raised £950 in memory of two bikers who tragically died just weeks apart.
The Coffee Tree Xperience, on the A47 Thorney Road, was shocked to hear that Mat Bilby and Michael Howard had both died in separate crashes on August 22 and September 6 2018.
The bikers, both in their 40s, who were regulars at The Coffee Tree Xperience, had played a big part in the cafes weekly Wednesday bike nights which run from April to October.
Mr Howard, known as Maddog, was on his way to one of the meet ups at the café, when the grey Suzuki GSXR 750 K4 he was riding was involved in a collision with two cars on Bretton Way, in Peterborough, on August 22.
Just two weeks later, Mr Bilby was hit by a lorry just outside of Wisbech.
“The moment that we heard what had happened we knew we had to do something in their memory,” said Jo Goude, director of The Coffee Tree Xperience.
“Maddog had been on his way here for one of the meetings when everyone was waiting outside and heard what had happened. The bikers held a one minute silence and we were all just in shock.
“One of his friends turned to us and said that he wished he had called him and asked him to go to his house instead of here, as then he wouldn’t have been in the accident.
“To hear that Mat had passed away just weeks later was another tragedy, so within three weeks I organised a fundraiser.”
More than 200 people from across the country attended the tribute evening on October 3 when a disco, food and tombola was held at the café.
A special performance from Mat’s niece also took place, with a special song she had written in his memory.
Jo continued: “It was a very emotional evening. You may never think that you would see a big biker cry, but they were that night.
“We even had the opposite of a one minute silence with a minute of noise instead.
“Bikers love noise, so they revved and revved their bikes for one minute.
“About 95 bikers were on the car park doing that at 7.30pm and it was the perfect way to remember them.”
The money raised will be split between the two families of Mat and Michael, with one half going to Macmillan Cancer Support.
A presentation evening will be held in Guyhirn later this week.