Farewell to a gentle giant

Paul Sharp
Paul Sharp
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The funeral will take place tomorrow for a former Wigan man whose body was left stranded abroad after he died on holiday.

Paul Sharp will finally be given a fitting send-off after incredible efforts were undertaken to raise money to repatriate his body.

Paul, known to his closest friends as Sharpy, died suddenly in Fethiye in October from what is believed to be heart failure.

But tragically, his body still remained in Turkey for weeks because the 55-year-old was refused holiday insurance due to the throat cancer he had been battling for several years.

But his family and friends rallied together to cover the expensive costs of returning his body. Thanks to the generosity of Paul’s former colleagues at Manchester Airport, the people of his hometown Haydock and even from as far afield as New Zealand, over £4,000 was raised to bring Paul home.

He had lived in Wigan in the early 1990s while married, but was most recently living in Haydock, having returned home to live with his mother.

He was a keen rugby league player, and had playing spells for St Helens, Widnes and Bradford.

But Paul wasn’t just known for his sporting prowess. To those around him, he was a larger than life personality, and a “gentle giant” who was widely adored.

Lifelong friend Paul Stevens said: “I first met Paul in the early 1980s at the Boys Brigade at St Mark’s Church. He quickly became a very close family friend to me and my dad.

“He took us all under his wing, he was a gentle giant but he also had a cheeky side, which is why everyone loved him so much.”

He was diagnosed with cancer around two years ago, but according to Mr Stevens: “He just got on with it, like he always used to.”

Paul had even fund-raised for Children With Cancer for years before his own diagnosis. His funeral will take place tomorrow, November 3, at St Marks Church in Haydock, before moving on to St Helens crematorium.