AN adventure-loving biker who spent his life teaching others and could turn his hand to almost anything has died.

Dozens of bikers turned out to help bid farewell to popular Darlington man Ray Hankin, whose funeral was held yesterday.

The former Darlington College lecturer died suddenly last month, at the age of 80.

His funeral was held at St Augustine's RC Church, in Coniscliffe Road, on Wednesday with tributes paid by wife Beryl Hankin, brother Laurence Hankin and friend Colin Harrison.

Mr Hankin, who was passionate about his motorbikes and classic cars, was riding his beloved Kawasaki when he suffered a heart attack on December 13.

The Northern Echo: Bikers turned out to say farewell to Darlington man Ray Hankin, whose funeral took place on Wednesday

The Northern Echo: Bikers turned out to say farewell to Darlington man Ray Hankin, whose funeral took place on Wednesday

The Northern Echo: Bikers turned out to say farewell to Darlington man Ray Hankin, whose funeral took place on Wednesday

Mrs Hankin, who runs Guru Boutique in Blackwellgate, said: "Ray did a lot of good and people liked him.

"He would help anyone with a problem.

"He retired a few years ago but I still get people in the shop asking after Mr Hankin. He made a big impression.

"He was a force for good without ever thinking about it. He just thought that's the way people should be.

"He always wanted to be worth his salt."

He was originally from a large family in Bishop Auckland but moved to Darlington after marrying Beryl in 1963.

The couple had met at night school for commercial art and were together for almost 60 years.

The Northern Echo: Ray and Beryl Hankin at their wedding in 1963

Mr Hankin, whose father Francis had been a master cabinet maker, followed in his footsteps and was a skilled wood worker and furniture maker.

He taught woodworking machinery at Darlington College of Technology but could also turn his hand to most practical tasks and was often found in his workshop or garage.

As well as designing and building all the furniture for their home, he also kitted out Guru's current premises when the shop moved from its original location in Skinnergate.

Among his projects was to build a replica Dodge Viper in his garage, as well as restoring his favourite Rudge motorbikes.

He was a dedicated member of the Rudge Motorbike Club and enjoyed trips with them, including to Ireland.

The Northern Echo: Ray Hankin on one of his beloved motorbikes

Known for his love of adventure, he took advantage of any opportunity that presented and counted among his experiences going abseiling while awaiting a hernia operation, going hot air ballooning and travelling the world.

His varied talents included running a blues rock band and doing a mobile disco with Beryl in the 1970s.

Mrs Hankin added: "Ray crammed so many things into his time on earth. He worked hard, was well travelled and never wasted a moment.

"He was a total all-rounder and could turn his hand to anything."

The Northern Echo: Ray Hankin, in the late 1950s with his first Rudge motorbike

Donations made after the service were given to the family of 18-year-old Harvey McWilliams, from Darlington, who died in December.

The teenager, who had been a talented footballer and player with Darlington FC Academy and Darlington All-Stars, died on December 21 after being hit by a train.

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