Death at 91 of family man with a passion for motorbikes

Date: Monday 24th December 2018

MORE than a hundred mourners turned out for the funeral of well-known engineer and motorbike enthusiast George Brooks, who has died, aged 91.

George spent his last few years in Carleton, Penrith, but for 82 years lived in Long Marton, where he grew up with brothers Lawrence and Thomas.

Born into a farming family, George attended Long Marton School and spent his formative years helping parents Frederick and Alice on the farm.

Despite growing up on a farm with no tractors or electricity, once the village became electrified in 1940 he wired his own house in 1945, while still a teenager, after teaching himself electrical work.

During the Second World War he served with the Home Guard. He spent many cold, dark nights guarding railway viaducts, despite believing it to be a “complete waste of time as the Germans would never get near”.

After the war, he went into engineering, spending time at Brough quarry and British Gypsum before a 20-year stint with British Steel at Shapfell Limestone.

In the early 1970s, he was sent by British Steel to Austria for a few weeks to learn how to set up large lime kilns.

After retiring in 1982, he spent a number of years self-employed, doing a range of work from odd jobs to working with Gordon Cannon lawnmowers.

George had two passions in life — his family and motorbikes. From around the age of 15 or 16, he became a devoted biker, competing locally in grasstrack racing in his younger years before being a founder of Penrith Motorcycle Club and a long-standing and active member of Wigton Motor Club.

He had a range of bikes from mopeds to an old Rudge, Norton, Triumph, Velocette and in more recent years a Suzuki and several Hondas.

He stopped riding only three years ago and would regularly travel to the Isle of Man for the TT, where he was presented with an award for attending over a period of 50 years.

Alongside motorbikes, George had several classic cars, including a Triumph Spitfire.

He could often be seen driving around the Lake District with Kathleen, his wife of more than 68 years and better known as Kitty, at his side.

The couple had seven children — Michael, Barbara, Jill, Tony, Alistair, the late Stephen and Judith. He played dominoes for years in Long Marton and at the Cross Keys Inn, Carleton.

A funeral service was held on Tuesday at Long Marton. Arrangements were in the hands of Walker’s Funeral Directors, Penrith.

Paying tribute, daughter Barbara said: “He was a great family man and friend to so many. He was kind, generous and just a gentleman. He will be hugely missed.”

George is survived by Kitty, six of his children — Michael Brooks, of Stainton; Barbara Slater, of Stainton; Jill Grierson, of Halifax; Tony Brooks, of Long Marton; Alistair Brooks, of Eamont Bridge; and Judith Jones, of Long Marton — as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.