A WEYMOUTH funeral parlour has a new service to allow the dearly departed to take one last ride into the sunset.

Peter Lem Funeral Services Ltd in Abbotsbury Road has joined forces with motorcycle enthusiast Maurice Dodd for the trike hearse.

Coun Anne Kenwood, mayor of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, saddled up to take a ride on the machine as she officially launched the new service.

Maurice said: “I think she was quite frightened at first but once we got going she had a thoroughly good time and really enjoyed herself.”

Funeral director Peter Lem added: “We were giving people rides around the block to mark the start of the service.

“They were happy to have a go and really enjoyed it.”

Mr Lem approached Mr Dodd after seeing the trike hearse Mr Dodd made to carry his late wife’s coffin.

Mr Dodd, whose wife Janice died suddenly in October 2005, reckons it will be a fitting tribute for any motorbike fan, or anyone who fancies going out in style.

Mr Lem believes it will be popular and says it will be available to hire from Peter Lem Funeral Services Ltd but will also be sub contracted out to funeral directors in the south west.

He said: “It’s quite unusual but I think it will be popular.

“We’ve done funerals before where the coffin has turned up on a tractor and trailer.”

Mr Lem added: “The hearse Maurice had made for Janice was wonderful I thought it was an idea worth pursuing.”

Mother-of-three Janice Dodd, who suffered from an undetected heart defect, was 48 when she died suddenly.

A keen member of the biker community, Mrs Dodd was involved with the Dorset Women’s Outreach Project and was passionate about Thomas Hardy novels and Formula One racing.

At her funeral procession more than 30 riders followed the hearse as her husband drove it along the seafront and through town.

Mr Dodd said: “After the funeral it was all too fresh in my memory to go ahead with the trike hearse so it was put on hold.

“I bumped into Pete a few months ago and he mentioned it. It seemed the right time to go ahead.

“I managed to get Weybay Joinery to build the body for me. It will be eight foot long and four foot high and is designed to be towed by my new Harley trike.

“It will be unique to this area. I understand there’s one in use in Devon as well as Northumbria.”

Retired plumber Mr Dodd, 52, added: “These days people are shunning the idea of black tie and black suit funerals and going for something a bit different for the big send off.

“This way they go out in style.”