Denmead woman's 'desperate' plea to retrieve husband's pride and joy after he died of terminal cancer

A widow is ‘desperate’ to continue a search for her late husband’s pride and joy after he died of cancer.

Liz Gates, 74, is eager to retrieve husband, Eric’s, vintage 60s motorbike on a search which she is continuing following his death in September 2020, and says she would ‘cry for a week’ if it could be returned to her home in Denmead.

Liz and Eric Gates sold the bike, a Triumph Speed Twin, in 1967 from a previous residence at Leigh Park in Botley Drive so they could afford a family car.

Now, 55 years on, Liz wants to retrieve the bike which she says ‘was his life’ so she can give it to their son, David.

Liz's husband's bike is the same model as the one pictured but in a chrome and grey colour and not red. Triumph 5TA Speed Twin (1960). Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Photographs_by_Steve_Glover SG2012, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

It was her husband’s wish while he was still alive. Eric died in 2020 following a battle against colon, bowel and kidney cancer.

Liz said: ‘He wanted David to have it if he couldn’t find it.

‘[Eric] had the bike from when we started going out together in 1962 and we married in 1965.

‘In 1967 we sold it because we desperately needed a car - as we'd just had a baby then.’

Eric had such fond memories of his pride and joy that Liz says he could probably ‘eat his dinner off of it’.

‘If I could get it back, I could go up to his grave and I could tell him, “Look, we’ve found it, we’ve done it!”

Liz says the bike was definitely manufactured in the 1960s and has an inkling that it could have been produced in the year 1960.

The model is a Triumph Speed Twin manufactured by Triumph and is coated in chrome metal with grey plastic parts and it is grey in colour.

The registration plate is HED 347.

It was sold to a man who Liz presumes was in his 30s at the time and it could possibly still be in Leigh Park somewhere.

The bike has reportedly not yet been scrapped by the DVLA and Liz is pleading that local classic bike owners double check their models.

She is desperately hoping that somebody, somewhere, still has it in their possession.

‘We're hoping that it's either covered up in a garden or in a shed or in a garage. It's a longshot but it's the only shot I've got.

‘Eric died too soon and this is what he would’ve wanted.

‘We went round Britain on that bike. We went to Brighton loads of times. We went up to the Penny Farthing at Bishop’s Waltham, we've been all over.

‘I could write a book about it. We had picnics, we went swimming in rivers, we were crazy, like proper 60s kids.

‘We both sat on that bike and we went everywhere,’ said Liz.

Regardless of the current condition, Liz just wants it to be returned to the safe and capable hands of their family.

She says she will happily pay the current owner to get it back.

‘It doesn't matter what condition it's in because I'll save up and have it done up.

She told The News: ‘You are my last hope of finding it.’

If you can provide any information on a motorbike matching the specifications above, contact Liz Gates on 07981 723151

The picture provided to The News is of a red Triumph Speed Twin and is not the colour of Eric’s which is grey but is the same model.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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