THE rumbling of motorbike engines filled the air as hundreds of bikers gathered in Carlisle for a remarkable and moving tribute event.

Noel Daley was just 37 when he died in a crash at Eamont Bridge near Penrith in 2007 - an accident caused by the carelessness of a tractor driver who failed to properly check the road before pulling out.

After the tragedy, Noel’s friends and fellow bikers were determined to bring something positive out of the incident.

On Saturday, hundreds of bikers gathered for the 11th annual Noel Daley Memorial Motorcycle Rally, organised by Leviathan Motorcycle Club, and recreating the journey to Pooley Bridge which he never completed.

It’s a tribute to Noel, a hugely popular young man; and a chance to raise awareness of road safety. Commenting just before the rally began - with her as a passenger on one of the bikes - Noel’s sister Helen Hughes, 55, of Newfield Drive, Carlisle, said: “It’s nice people who did not even know Noel have come.

“There’s a camaraderie among bikers. It’s a respect thing; and about raising awareness. The police told us that in accidents it’s the fault of bikers in only five per cent of cases.”

Also at the event was Noel’s mum Betty, 86. She said: “My grandson, Noel’s nephew, called from his home in Canada to say that he was thinking of his uncle.”

In the Swifts Bank Car Park, near the Sands Centre, several bikers said they wanted to show respect for Noel, raise awareness of safety, and raise money for charity.

The spectators included Hazel Barker, whose late husband PC Bill Barker supported Noel’s family after his death. Bill died in the 2009 west Cumbria floods when Workington’s Northside bridge was swept away.

Hazel said: “Bill built up a really close relationship with Noel’s family when he was their family liaison officer. We’re here for Bill, and to show Noel’s family how much we still remember them.

“It’s something positive that’s come out of a tragedy.”