A Facebook post went up recently asking to get a few scooters together to go and visit a legendary figure from the UK scootering past. John Horner, one of the three Horner brothers from the now closed but much loved and remembered with great fondness (far and wide) Horner Brothers on Ayres Road, Whaley Range, Manchester.
It was for a surprise visit for his 82nd Birthday, arranged by John’s daughter Sally, who by chance is in the same book club as Debbie, who is the wife of Andrew Fox of Warrington SC. Andrew set the wheels in motion by posting it on social media.
A date was set and a call to arms for most of the old Manchester and Northwest clubs, which included riders from Warrington, Omega Squad, Salford Knights, Stockport Crusaders, Nite Owls and the Manchester Aces. All old regulars of the now closed shop.
After meeting and a short ride over, through the picturesque village of Lymm, into Warrington and on to the Saracens Head where a great number of the clubs met. After the usual greetings to faces not seen since last year, a large convoy set off to the family house and up into a suburban street and then into a cul de sac at the end. I’d have loved to have known what the neighbours thought was going on.
Sally told us that John now lived in Cornwall and moved there soon after the shop was cleared and all stock and parts sold on when it closed in the late 90s. John had pretty much lost all ties with the scooter scene so he was made up with the turnout for him. It just shows in this lifestyle of ours just how much appreciation we have for the old guard of the scene.
We were greeted by John and his immediate family and the smile on his face was from ear to ear, lots of photos taken and memories shared. An old photo book was brought out from the shop days (see gallery images on page 2), with photographs of John and his brother’s Rob and Ernie, plus Gordon the parts man.
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A highlight for John was curly Kev on his GP150 which he had bought from Horners in 1970 for £212 new, still in immaculate condition. Paul T from the Knights cheekily asked him for his money back for a wrong spark plug he sold him in the 80s – that raised a smile and raised an eyebrow.
A great old photo of the Stockport Crusaders outside the shop in the late 80s was passed around. Disco Daz was that slim and baby faced he didn’t even recognise himself. Some things never change Daz, apart from your waist size pal. After an hour or so we all said our goodbyes and went on our different ways back home. A great day out, a nice ride to blow the cobwebs away and as a bonus we all made an old man’s day.
A big thank you to Foie for organising and escorting the ride, it’s nice to be nice
Words and photos: Howard, Salford Knights
Additional photos provided by The Horner family
Please post any memories about the shop and brothers in the comments below.