Tributes paid as Wigan Warriors fan dies in Spain

Emotional tributes have been paid to a Wigan Warriors fan who died in Spain after travelling to support the team in Barcelona.

Monday, 20th May 2019, 10:49 am
Graham Bullen

Graham Bullen, from Standish, died in his hotel room on Sunday morning after going to watch the historic Super League clash against Catalan Dragons at the Camp Nou.

His heartbroken daughter Dawn Smith described the 73-year-old, of Pepper Lane, as "my hero, my best friend, my dad" in a moving social media tribute.

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Graham Bullen

She also posted a video of Wigan rugby league legend Andy Gregory paying tribute to Graham after hearing of his death in the resort of Lloret de Mar.

The Warriors have also expressed their sadness at the news.

Dawn said: "I can’t believe that I am actually writing this post but I felt that I had to for everyone that knew and loved my dad but I had the dreadful news of finding out that my hero, my best friend, my dad has passed away this morning in Spain after going to watch Wigan Warriors.

"He was the best dad I could have ever wished for and the best grandad to all of his grandchildren and my heart will remain broken forever.

"My poor mum is distraught stuck over there so we can only concentrate now on getting her and him home safe as soon as possible."

A Wigan Warriors spokesperson said: "All at Wigan Warriors were deeply saddened to hear of the tragic news regarding Mr Bullen’s passing following our game in Barcelona.

"This is obviously a very difficult time for the family where our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers are with them, their friends and fellow Club supporters.

"Club officials are in contact with the family where we continue to offer our full assistance and support."

A video showed former Great Britain RL international Andy Gregory leading a tribute to him, describing news of Graham's death as "tragic" and asking fans to join him as fellow Wiganers in thinking of the family.

The tragic news has drawn a huge response from Warriors fans on social media, with dozens of tributes and comments being left.

David Elsden wrote on social media: "Can't believe my old karaoke partner, a fantastic person, no longer with us. My thoughts are with you all at this sad time."

Lorna Brightcliffe wrote: "Wonderful man ...lovely family so sad to hear this heartbreaking news."

Dawn praised the outpouring of grief and support for her family after she posted the sad news.

She said: "I put a post on the Warriors fan site and they have all been truly amazing with their heartfelt posts showing just how we Warriors fans are one big family."