Fight to bring home the body of Great Yarmouth cancer victim who died on his last holiday


- Credit: Supplied

A fund has been started to bring home the body of a man who died of cancer while on his last holiday. Vincent Sprules - known as Vinny - was diagnosed with lung cancer six months ago and wanted to go on holiday to the Mediterranean island as a last hurrah.

A GoFundMe page set up to bring the body of Vincent 'Vinny' Sprules back to the country.

A GoFundMe page set up to bring the body of Vincent 'Vinny' Sprules back to the country. - Credit: Supplied

Mr Sprules, 46, flew out to the island with a friend and his family on December 29, to soak up a few days in the sun. But he soon took a turn for the worst, and was admitted to the general hospital in Paphos on January 5.

His health deteriorated and doctors told his friend, who did not wish to be named, that he would only be a matter of days. He died on Tuesday. Mr Sprules wanted to be cremated when he died. However, as the majority of Cypriots are members of the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, cremation is forbidden, and there are no crematoriums on the island.

Since news spread back to Great Yarmouth of the situation, an online fundraising pot was started by another friend, Mattie Clark, to try and raise the £5,000 needed to repatriate his body after his death.

'Our first option was to have him cremated here and everyone would come out to pay their respects,' said Mr Sprules' friend, who has remained in Paphos while his family returned home.

'But that's impossible with no crematoriums on the island. So really his body needs to be brought home for a proper send off, he's an Englishman at the end of the day and deserves to be laid to rest at home.'

In recent months, Mr Sprules had - unbeknown to his friends - been homeless, but when he was diagnosed with cancer he was offered a flat by the borough council.

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He had previously lived on Southtown Road, Nelson Road Central, and Century Road, and friends say 'everyone knows him.'

He had previously worked as a painter and decorator, and friends fondly remember how he would carry his tool bag and do jobs for people when he popped round.

They said it was likely that Mr Sprules didn't tell them about his homelessness, as he would not want them to worry.

It is thought this was the same reason he didn't tell anyone that he had not been able to get travel insurance or been cleared to travel by his doctor for the holiday to Cyrpus, both of which were supposed to be obtained before he jetted off.

Even before he died, tributes to Mr Sprules were posted on Facebook, while donations were made to a GoFundMe page called 'Bring Vinny Home'.

In the first 24 hours the page had raised over £4,500, and organiser Mr Clark said he was touched by the kindness of people who didn't know Mr Sprules. Any funds not used to repatriate Mr Sprules' body will be spent on funeral costs.

'He was the most kind man you would ever meet,' he added. 'He'd do anything for anyone.'

Another friend, Rianne Swaep, said: 'He was a very big part of my life, he has been like a dad to me.

'I'm not asking, I'm begging, that everyone donates just a little something to help us bring this amazing one of a kind, brilliant man home where he belongs.'

• To make a donation to the Bring Vinny Home fund, visit