A BRITISH biking legend was given a 'cycle' of honour and his coffin accompanied by a jazz band playing his favourite music at his funeral.

Jack Taylor started making lightweight bike frames in his mother’s shed as a teenager and launched a business after the Second World War which attracted customers from across the world.

Husband to Peggy for 57 years, the 96-year-old from Norton, Stockton, whose full name was John George Cecil Taylor, died in hospital last week.

He was fondly remembered at the funeral service held at Stockton Parish Church which was attended by hundreds of mourners.

Mark Miller, Assistant Curate, told the congregation that bikes designed and manufactured by Jack Taylor Cycles were popular in America and desired in Russia.

As one of the founding members of Stockton Wheelers Cycle Club, its proud members stood in line to greet the hearse when it arrived and led the procession through the town centre afterwards.

In a tribute read on behalf of Mrs Taylor, 93, called ‘Simply the best’, he said the couple had met through their shared love of cycling and could often be seen riding around Stockton together on their tandem.

In the 1950s he built them a home and planted seedlings which have grown up to create an impressive treelined garden, where he spent time pursuing his varied interests such as looking after their dogs, photography and learning about the work of the world’s greatest engineers.

The Rev Miller said: “At 18 he began an ongoing love affair with the music of the slaves, jazz, his idol was Louis Armstrong and he met him on two occasions.”

The congregation heard that the highlight of Mr Taylor’s week was going to the Oxbridge Hotel to hear The Old Glory Jazz Band, the band performing rousing tunes throughout the funeral, including his favourite song, Rose Room.

Mr and Mrs Taylor's nephew died while working in Saudi Arabia in 2008.

The congregation was told that he had previously described his uncle as having “a spark of genius in him."

"He was a gentleman and simply the best,” he had said.

A short poem written by Mrs Taylor for her late husband, read: “I was there when you went, I felt you go. But then you were back,

all around me and you are still wrapping me in the safety net of my memory.”

The Northern Echo attended the funeral with the family’s permission.