Hundreds of vintage scooter riders were among the mourners for a Darlington legend known to all as 'Kenny the Beard'.

There was standing room only at the funeral of Kenneth Dryden – better known to many as Kenny the Beard – at Darlington Arena today.

There were nods to two of his biggest passions – music and scooters – at the send-off for the popular and well-respected Darlington man.

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Mr Dryden, from the Denes, died from cancer last month, on July 15, at the age of 64.

The Northern Echo: Kenny 'the beard' Dryden Kenny 'the beard' Dryden

The Northern Echo: There was a huge turnout for the funeral of Kenny 'the beard' Dryden Picture: STUART BOULTONThere was a huge turnout for the funeral of Kenny 'the beard' Dryden Picture: STUART BOULTON

Described as a local legend and larger than life character, Mr Dryden had lived in the same home in Mildred Street for his whole life.

Celebrant Glynis Haveron said: “He was a character, full of fun.

“He grabbed life with both hands.

“He was popular and revered by many but he never thought he was better than anyone else.

“A true gentleman, he made everyone feel important just by being himself.”

Hundreds of vintage scooters followed Mr Dryden as he made his final journey through the town. They were led by members of the North Yorkshire-based Woolyback Scooter Club, which he was a member of. 

There were floral tributes in the shape of a Vespa and the Public Image Limited (PIL), whose records he collected.

A big fan of the band, he forged a relationship with singer John Lydon, of the Sex Pistols, who paid tribute to Kenny on his Facebook page.

PIL record Death Disco  was one of the tracks played at the funeral, while  David Bowie’s Suffragette City, which was the first record ever bought by Mr Dryden, was another.

He had worked many jobs, as an apprentice joiner, then a tree surgeon, in a specialist record shop in Darlington, as a fitter for Sacs and later as a plasterer.

The Northern Echo: There was a huge turnout for Kenny Dryden There was a huge turnout for Kenny Dryden

He was once part of an unsuccessful world record attempt to be part of the most number of scooters crossing the Humber Bridge and also tried his hand at acting in a film called Rise of the North Star, about the life of the world’s first black professional footballer Arthur Wharton, who has links to Darlington.

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Among those to pay tribute to him at the funeral was Shaun Campbell, founder of the Arthur Wharton Foundation in Drury Street. Recalling how they met on his first day in the town, he said: “Kenny has been with me every step of the way.”

His name will be recorded at the foundation, offering a place for people to remember him.

The Northern Echo: Kenny Dryden and John Lydon Kenny Dryden and John Lydon

A huge music lover, a gig is also being held in his memory at The Forum, in Darlington, organised by close friend June Daly. It takes place on September 10 and will raise money for St Teresa’s Hospice.

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