COUPLE'S BIKE WEDDING; Church marriage for Blue Angels.
Byline: Robert Sutcliffe News Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
THEY might be outlaws but even outlaws need to settle down some time.
So roared on by around 50 bikers from across the country, Michael Hammill, 48, and Michelle Mathers, 52, took their vows at St Philip's Church, Birchencliffe, on Saturday afternoon.
Michael is secretary of the Kirklees Chapter of the Blue Angels - an international motorcycle group with 'Chapters' all across the UK.
They boast that they are the oldest outlaw bike club in Europe and were established in 1963.
But away from the road, Michael runs a successful window cleaning business while Michelle is a secretary.
At Michael's home in Stanley Road, Ainley Top, she joked: "I'm a biker's chick! We have known each other since 2000 and met at a Blue Angels party in Barnsley with my brother Michael."
And she revealed Michael's romantic side by telling how he proposed at a Tenerife beach hut bar in September last year.
"I was shocked really that he had managed to keep it quiet.
"It's my first time down the aisle and my father, Dave Mathers, gave me away."
Asked what it was that attracted her to bikers she said: "I think it's the sense of brotherhood, the camaraderie, it's quite moving." That camaraderie was in evidence on Saturday morning when dozens of Blue Angels bikers turned up at Michael's local hostelry, the genteel Nags Head, just a few yards from his home.
So while Michelle's friends styled her hair and ensured she looked radiant for her big day, Michael, in true biker-style welcomed his mates from Sheffield, Manchester, South Lakes, York and Leeds.
And what better way of waving goodbye to the single life than going for a blast around the town with your pals? So that's what they did, roaring away from the Nags into Bradley, Cooper Bridge and Leeds Road before fetching up at St Philip's where curate Sarah Farrimond and Rachel Firth, Vicar of Lindley, were awaiting them.
Sarah said: "This is my first wedding and it's a rather wonderful event to start with. It's not often we have that many motorbikes here. There was a really good atmosphere."
Rachel, who conducted the ceremony in front of around 100 guests, added: "It's been lovely. I have never taken a wedding quite like it before.
"Despite their tough-looking exterior they have been very well behaved. At one point all I could see was a sea of leather jackets!
"Every wedding is unique and that aspect was slightly more visible on an occasion like this.
"It was a pleasure to welcome them into God's House and for them to feel that there was no barrier to their being here."
After the ceremony the bikers formed an orderly convoy on Halifax Road before delighting passers-by by revving up and heading off for an evening bash at Pennine Manor, Scapegoat Hill.
The happy couple are to honeymoon at Lake Garda, Italy.
Asked whether they would be meeting up with any bikers while away? Michelle replied: "Certainly not!"
Michael and Michelle are all smiles |after their wedding
Blue Angels Kirklees Chapter Secretary Michael Hammill weds Michelle Mathers. Right, the unusual sight of the leather-clad congregation at St Philip's Church, Birchencliffe 130615MBIKERS_10 JULIAN HUGHES