A magical day for Wigan rugby fans Lily and Mary

Mary and Lily are greeted by referee Chris Kendal
Mary and Lily are greeted by referee Chris Kendal

Two pensioners had a day out to remember when they were VIP guests of Wigan Warriors.


Belong Wigan care village residents and lifelong Wigan Warriors supporters, Lily Pointer, 81, and 89-year-old Mary Cunliffe, used to be season ticket holders and go to every Wigan Warriors game, even travelling to Wembley to see their favourite team play.

Unfortunately, since the two ladies’ husbands passed away, neither of them have been to watch a match.

When Claire Culshaw, manager of Belong’s home care service, Belong at Home, discovered that the pair, who are both living with dementia, had formed a tight friendship based on their shared love of rugby league and a passion for their local team, she wanted to reignite the excitement they once experienced watching a live Wigan Warriors match.

So Claire wrote to the club to see if she could get tickets for the two to see a match at the DW Stadium.

The response from Wigan Warriors came as a surprise. Not only did the club offer the ladies free tickets to a match, the pair were invited to a ‘Rugby Memories’ reminiscence session ahead of the big day.

There they would meet their favourite player, John Bateman, who presented them with their tickets.

On the day of the match, the two friends were given the honour of going out onto the pitch before the start of play to present the referee with the match ball and got to watch the game from the comfort of a corporate box with full hospitality.

Afterwards, the ladies got to meet the Wigan Warriors players and were presented with personalised shirts and a rugby ball signed by all of the team.

Lily said: “It’s been the best day of my life. We shan’t forget it.

“I can’t thank the club enough for their kindness.”