Dozens of bikers yesterday joined the funeral cortege of the man killed in an explosion in Staffordshire.

Roddy Hine, a keen biker who would have been 45 last Saturday, died along with three of his partner's children during the explosion at his home in Cheddleton, near Leek, late on March 9.

About 500 family and friends turned out for the service at All Saints' Church in Leek. About 30 motorcyclists accompanied the hearse to the church and after the service they joined the cortege through Mr Hine's home village and on to the Carmounts ide Crematorium in Stoke-on-Trent.

During the service Father Carl Peters, who knows the Hine family, said: "This is a tragedy which has sent ripples through our community; ripples which very sadly must feel like tidal waves to the Hine and Carter families.

"I am sure Roddy, who loved his life and has been painfully taken away from us would want there to be plenty of humour, plenty of enjoyment and plenty of love left in this world."

The congregation sang the hymns The Lord Is My Shepherd and Love Divine All Love's Excelling. They also heard two of Roddy's favourite songs In My Life by Ozzy Osbourne and No One But You by Queen.

Roddy's partner and the mother of the three children who died, Amanda Carter, was helped into the church by family members. She cried throughout the service and struggled to stand during the second hymn. About 30 bikers all dressed in their leathers were also in tears. There were two large wreaths on the coffin, one included red roses.

The funerals of the three children who died in the explosion, Samantha, Patricia and Marcus Carter, will take place at St Edwards' Church in Leek tomorrow morning at 11.30am.

Mark Goldstraw, who is 31, and from Compton House in Leek, will appear in court again next month, charged with four counts of murder.