THE father of Luke Rhoden has paid a heart-felt thank-you to the Wigan public after they raised a staggering £10,000 to bring his son’s body home.
Norman Rhoden is currently on the Spanish island of Ibiza talking to witnesses as well as police, doctors and hotel staff, who were present when the 25-year-old died last Tuesday morning.
Luke died last week after leaping from the first floor of his hotel on a stag do and being restrained by Spanish police.
The Rhoden family faced the extra burden of raising around 10,000 Euros to repatriate Luke’s body.
But big-hearted Wiganers - including RL ace Josh Carnley, who auctioned a signed Warriors shirt – solved that problem by digging deep and donating the amount needed within a matter of days.
Speaking to the Evening Post from Ibiza, Mr Rhoden thanked everyone who has rushed to the family’s aid.
“It’s absolutely fantastic,” he said. “The support has been massive, especially in the Wigan area.
“They’ve been absolutely tremendous. I’ve got people I don’t know sending me emails, who didn’t know my son but have been touched by what’s happened and wanted to do something.
“I’ve had loads of Facebook messages about fund-raising ideas and I’ve had loads of people wanting to do so many different things.
“The Wigan people have been absolutely tremendous, I really can’t thank them enough.
“They’ve all pulled together, I’m still overwhelmed now to the response to my son’s death and how people feel about it.”
Luke was staying at the Ibiza Rocks hotel where he was seen jumping or falling from a balcony before struggling with police outside.
His cause of death has been recorded as a result of a cardiac arrest but it remains unclear what caused the seizure.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, streams of horrified eyewitnesses came forward claiming Spanish police battered Luke while they restrained him.
Mr Rhoden also told the Evening Post has met police chiefs - but remains unhappy with the outcome.
He said: “I’ve spoken to the chief of police and that was all very contrived that meeting I’m afraid.
“He was very much toeing the party line, it was very brief and he wasn’t very personable and didn’t seem genuinely interested.
“Some of the basics of what he’s going to say any time he’s asked is that they held and restrained him and unfortunately he had a cardiac arrest and died.
“Other accounts are that he was excessively beaten with truncheons to the ground.
“I’m out on the island and the feeling I’m getting is that people fear the Civil Guardia . It’s tough because I’m just going around and meeting different people.
“I’ve been to Ibiza Rocks and met the manager there and they’ve been very helpful.
“They’ve explained what went on and give me the best account they could but obviously the real damage was done outside of the hotel which is out of their jurisdiction.”