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A pub landlord says there was nothing he could do to stop hundreds of bikers turning up to a funeral he was hosting at his pub.

leicestermercury.co.uk

“It was a scenario that just got out of control for me”

A pub landlord says there was nothing he could do to stop hundreds of bikers turning up to a funeral he was hosting at his pub.

Neil Henderson has apologised after he was fined for breaching Covid-19 rules following the mass gathering at The Gate Hangs Well in Syston.

Police were called after nearly 500 bikers started arriving at the pub, in Fosse Way, on Friday afternoon for the funeral of the president of a biker gang.

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Mr Henderson, who has run the pub for 12 years, said the event had been planned for 30 people, as allowed within the coronavirus regulations, but then more and more bikers started to arrive until between 400 and 500 were present and the situation became unmanageable.

The police said he could be fined up to £10,000.

Mr Henderson told LeicestershireLive the funeral was for an acquaintance who was the president of a motorcycle club.

He said: “He had terminal cancer and before he died he asked me if he could hold the funeral here.

“The organisers had erected a marquee set out for 30 people with the chairs separated as per the regulations.

“The pub was closed to the general public and tables were set out (in a nearby field) for anyone coming to pay their respects.

“We were told maybe 50 or 60 extra people might turn up.

“We didn’t expect so many people would come to do that.

“I can’t believe how many bikers turned up.

“There was no way I could stop it from going on.

“It was a scenario that just got out of control for me.”

Mr Henderson said the police turned up when the funeral service started.

He said: “They didn’t really want to get involved.

“The council asked me to close at about 4pm which I did.

“Between myself and the police, we asked the organisers to respectfully disperse in separate small groups.

“Right at the very end the police said they would fine me but I haven’t had it through yet so I don’t know how much it will be because I haven’t had it through yet.

“I want to say something because this is my livelihood and I don’t want my staff to lose their jobs.

“I feel stressed and depressed about this.”

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Mr Henderson added: “I would like to apologise wholeheartedly for the circumstances that occurred.

“My decision to allow the funeral to take place on the pubs ground was led by a personal friendship with the deceased.

“Perhaps I was naive in thinking the numbers attending would be manageable.

“The tables were relocated into the fields to allow for better social distancing and the pub closed to the public at the request of the organisers as it was a private funeral.

“The police were in attendance from the start of the funeral service and remained present until the last motorcyclist left.

The Gate Hangs Well pub, Fosse Way, Syston. Landlord Neil Henderson.

“Once it was clear that the Covid regulations could no longer be met and after discussing with the local council the premises was voluntarily closed.

“The mourners made the decision to leave in stages in order to minimise any further disruption to the local area.

“This was by no means meant to be an organised event by the pub and I apologise again for any upset caused.”

Leicestershire Police said the bikers were asked to disperse but gradually to minimise the traffic impact of such a large volume of vehicles being released onto the roads.

Officers said they also were aware they were dealing with a funeral while trying to handle the situation.

The pub is run by Everard’s brewery which says it is investigating the matter.

A company spokeswoman said: “It is very disappointing that one business owner has held an event which has not followed the guidelines and we are currently investigating the matter, cooperating fully with Charnwood Police and the local licensing authority.

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“It is most certainly not a reflection on our position nor that of other Everards pubs.

“We and our business owners are taking the rules very seriously and will continue to do so as we do not condone any activity that goes against government advice.”

She added: “While we own all of the buildings, all Everards pubs are run individually by independent business owners.

“We do offer support and as a local family business the health, safety and wellbeing of our business owners, their employees, their customers and their local community has always been at the heart of what we do even before the current pandemic.

“This has only increased since March and we are proud that our business owners have worked very hard to ensure that they are running covid safe premises which still offer a great experience.”

8 comments

  1. “Freedom” must be fought for , 🖕🏻the Police and Council.
    500-600 showed their respect and rightfully so…
    💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻

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  2. Big ups to the bikers who showed up to their brother’s funeral they won’t let that man have to pay that big fine all they have to do is post something and everybody will help pay his fine. But I like to say even though I didn’t know who it was RIP my brother 💯🤜🤛🇺🇸🙏

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  3. Jesus is in control…not some “council”…good on you… freedom was fought for and we will always fight

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  4. A ton of bikers show up for a funeral, police are present but never said anything about the Covid 19 laws, or tried to do anything about it, then fine the owner of the pub? Hmm. Maybe the police should be fined for not doing anything instead. This owner is not at fault here.

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  5. I think as a UNIT as BIKERS.!!!! They all have hearts as good as gold…….If ALL groups can unite and all agree on good things they can rule more than they know….Quit the fighting against each other and COME TOHETHER…SHOW this world what REAL people they really are…They’ve had bad raps by bad different situations…But all in all THEY are ALL very big hearted good people..And need better recognition…I wish all different gangs could unite and make amends …That would be the biggest biker gang in USA EVER.!!!!….I love and support all bikers Gang or not.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!🥰🤩🤩🥳❤️

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  6. I believe the man who died deserved all his friends and family there..Covid or not..Everyone deserves a proper goodbye…I’ve lost 8 people during this pandemic just in 3 months and I’ll be dammed if I’m gonna not pay my respects.!!!!!God bless that man.

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  7. Wow nice that the parent company throws this pub owner under the bus. They should be standing right next to him, telling the world that this man did all he could before, during and after the event. A man passed away, his family and friends wanted to pay their respects. This is just another stupid government attempt to control the little guy on the street.

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