Grenville Martin John Beckett

February 1969 – May 2005

WITH THE death on Sunday May 22 of Grenville Beckett, the Algarve lost one of its most unconventional and colourful foreign residents.

Renowned for his rugged appearance, carefree attitude and total refusal to conform, Grenville died suddenly and wholly unexpectedly in his home, apparently of pulmonary embolism. He was 36. He leaves his wife Suzanne and their two-year-old son Maximillian.

Born in Nassau, capital of the Bahamas in February 1969, his parents, Brian and June Beckett, brought their only child to the Algarve when he was just three. He was educated at a public school in Rutland, England.

Instead of following his father into a career in the world of chartered accountancy or another profession, he chose to work with his hands.

After coming to live permanently in the Algarve in 1985, Grenville built up a reputation as a skilled craftsman in wrought iron. Best known for his passion for restoring old vehicles, he cut an unmistakably robust figure riding around on bizarre-looking motorbikes.

Grenville was one of the staunchest local supporters of the annual bikers’ rally in Faro, where he won several awards. While he espoused the menacing clothes and flamboyant behaviour favoured by many young bikers, he was a gentleman who abhorred real aggression.

The tattoos, leathers and other trappings of bravado masculinity were unable to camouflage his true nature: he was a caring person with a big heart.

The biking community in Portugal, Gibraltar and further afield were stunned by news of his death and many were expected to converge on the Algarve this week for his funeral.

His many friends in the Algarve, from conventional as well as unconventional walks of life, were greatly saddened by his passing and deluged his mother June with messages of sympathy.

Grenville passed away in his sleep after watching a film about motorbikes. Although he died at a tragically young age, he will be remembered as someone who really did live life to the full. Len Port