SEVERAL hundred people have said farewell to a Ryedale businessman and devoted family man who died suddenly after falling ill while riding his mountain bike in Dalby Forest.
Family, relatives, friends and colleagues packed into the chapel at East Riding Crematorium at Octon in memory of Stephen Major, 55, of Malton.
Before the service began two large wreaths bearing the words “Dad” and “Steve” in white flowers were brought in.
The Service of Celebration for the Life of Stephen Major, who was married to Jackie and had two teenage daughters, Nicole and Olivia, began when his coffin was borne into the building by relatives and life-long friends to the tune of Jimmy Ruffin’s What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.
“We know that his death has left a huge hole in many people’s lives and one that cannot be replaced,” said Colin Nolan, the celebrant, before adding they were united in love and friendship to celebrate, honour and pay tribute to Steve Major.
Following an education at the primary and secondary schools of Malton, he followed his father, who died last year, and started on a new path as an apprentice electrician.
He then built up and ran his business Major Electricals and was determined to make sure it was respected as well as being successful for its professionalism.
Mr Nolan and others spoke of the warmth, laughter and inspiration Steve brought into people’s lives.
Mr Major was a man devoted to his wife and daughters and who loved to indulge in a number of sports, particularly mountain bike riding.
Tributes were also paid by his niece Lisa Waddington, Les Ward, a life-long friend who recalled their adventures on holidays when young, and nephew Dale Waddington.
A letter written by his two daughters described the happy times they had with him and the lovely holidays they enjoyed.
The letter simply said: “We could not have asked for a better dad,” a dad who helped them through everything and now it was time for them to help others such as their mum.
Music played during the ceremony included the Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody while everyone joined in with the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful. The service ended with the Four Tops hit, Something About You.
A collection was taken for the British Heart Foundation and the local mountain rescue team who, along with friends and paramedics, had attempted to revive Mr Major at the scene.
A reception to celebrate his life was held afterwards at The Market Place restaurant in Malton.
His family have thanked the bikers, paramedics and mountain rescue team for their efforts to save him.