Parramatta has mourned the sudden loss of one of its most passionate advocates and motorcycling enthusiasts.
Greg Hirst, 64, died on June 6 following surgery complications, surrounded by his family.
Hundreds of riders met in Prospect on Monday for a funeral processional ride along the M4 to Penrith in honour of Mr Hirst.
A mass ride followed the funeral held at Penrith Panthers Marquee.
Motorcycle riding, Christianity and homelessness were causes close to Mr Hirst’s heart as a Brotherhood Christian Motorcycle Club member and Parramatta Street Youth Project chairman.
He was instrumental in organising the long running Bikers Australia Blanket Run from Penrith to Parramatta every August to coincide with the start of Homeless Persons Week. He also encouraged schools to run blanket and food drives for the homeless.
Organisers are looking at ways to honour Mr Hirst in this year’s blanket run.
Mr Hirst was also the executive producer and co-presenter of television documentary series Temporary Australians, which aimed to show a different side of the motorcycling fraternity.
"Not all motorcyclists are about tattoos and outlaw bikie clubs,” Mr Hirst told the Sun in 2015.
"They're people who have a passion for riding and we let them tell their stories.”
Federal Parramatta MP Julie Owens paid tribute in parliament last week.
“Greg was a humble man who devoted his life to helping others. I was lucky to call him a friend and support the work he did in the community,” Ms Owens said.
“I will fondly remember the years I rode on the back of Greg’s bike for the blanket run for the homeless. He will be missed by many, and be remembered as a committed community advocate who made a difference in many people’s lives.”
State Parramatta MP Geoff Lee also plans to pay tribute in state parliament this week.
“He was a person admired throughout the community from grassroots level through to politicians,” Dr Lee said.
“I introduced him to (health minister) Brad Hazzard, who was about to go on a ride with him. He respected other people’s views and broke down stereotypes to show that the vast majority of bike riders are great people.”
Mr Hirst is survived by his wife of 37 years Colleen and six children.