Wigan Warriors step in to pay for dad to come home

Graham Bullen with his wife Jackie
Graham Bullen with his wife Jackie

The family of a Wigan Warriors fan who died in Spain while supporting the team have thanked the club for paying to help bring him home.

Relatives of Graham Bullen, who died in his hotel room in the resort of Lloret de Mar the day after watching Warriors at Barcelona’s iconic Camp Nou stadium, were told his insurance firm would not pay out for his repatriation.

The club had already told 73-year-old Graham’s family they would help and when the problem was mentioned to general rugby manager Kris Radlinski he immediately stepped in.

The Warriors have now paid the fees required to begin the process of returning his body to the UK.

Graham’s son Dean Bullen said: “I took him through where we were up to and explained we were opting to pay ourselves to get dad back and he said Warriors would cover the costs.

“There’s a long way to go and a lot of paperwork but it does mean the process of getting him repatriated can start so it is a massive weight off the shoulders.

“It was all a bit surreal having Kris Radlinski visit me because he was one of dad’s favourite players. I could see him up there having a chuckle about it.

"We can’t thank the Warriors enough for their support, it has been absolutely fantastic.”

The family still do not know when they will be able to hold a funeral for Graham, who lived on Pepper Lane.

His widow Jackie arrived back in the UK on Tuesday night after a coach trip back from Spain and was met on arrival by a representative from the Warriors.

Graham’s family also thanked the Wigan public for an outpouring of support.

Dean said: “It has been absolutely fantastic with the amount of comments and posts we have seen.

“It shows how brilliant it is to be a Wiganer.”

Graham’s daughter Dawn Smith added: “The club and the Warriors fans have been absolutely amazing.

“The Warriors stepping up has helped an awful lot.”