FAMILY and friends came together to say goodbye to a much-loved father, son, grandfather and fiancé who died suddenly in Ibiza.

Hundreds of people gathered at Our Lady of Lourdes in Plodder Lane yesterday to remember Paul Birchall, aged 51 from Farnworth.

The father-of-two died on June 15 when he reportedly collapsed inside Ibiza airport where he had just arrived for a stag party after flying from Manchester.

Friends and family gathered outside the church, many wearing Bolton Wanderers shirts, as they awaited the arrival of the coffin.

This was followed by Mr Birchall’s Paul Cox and Sons van, which was decorated with balloons, flowers and pictures of him.

He had worked for the company for 20 years.

Inside the church, a number of tributes were read out about Mr Birchall, including by his sister Vivienne, daughter Jamie, aged 26 and son Christopher, aged 24.

Some of his favourite songs were played during the service include Town Called Malice, by The Jam and Night Boat to Cairo by Madness.

Mr Birchall was a keen pigeon fancier and following the funeral friends gathered at Farnworth Cemetery where pigeons were released. They then headed to Farnworth Cricket Club.

Paying tribute to her brother, Mrs Birchall said: “Paul you have been my brother forever, we had so many memories together.

“We have had our ups and downs but we have always been friends.

“I will always remember your cheeky grin, your kindness and your generosity.

“We will never be the same without you by our side. You will always be the brightest star shining in the sky.”

His son Christopher read out a poem about pigeon fancying in memory of his dad.

In her tribute, his daughter Jamie said: “What am I going to do without you? You were the one that helped me fix the problems I could not solve. You were always there helping me. I just never thought I would lose you so soon. You will be in my heart always.”

Mr Birchall has also left behind his mother Eileen Birchall, aged 72, his three other siblings, Julie Birchall, Michael Birchall and Sandra Birchall and his partner of six-years, Andrea Houseman.

Wanderers shirts worn by family members were printed with messages including ‘Uncle Paul’.