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Family of Sheffield Wednesday fans hoping to pay tribute to Sunderland AFC loving Grandad by scattering ashes on Stadium of Light at playoff semi-final

A family of Sheffield Wednesday fans are hoping to attend Friday’s play-off semi-final first leg to fulfil the final wish of a Sunderland AFC loving Grandad who requested part of his ashes be scattered at the Stadium of Light.

Thursday, 5th May 2022, 11:29 am

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Black Cats fan Brian Payne passed away from Covid-19 aged 74 in December 2020 and left a final wish to his family of having his ashes scattered at football grounds around the country, including at the Stadium of Light.

Originally from Sunderland, Brian, who was a retired accountant, moved to Blackpool where his daughter Karen Haydon, 41, was born.

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Sunderland fan Brian Payne with his three grandchildren, Taylor, Elliot and Jude

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After marrying a Sheffield Wednesday fan, Karen’s three sons Taylor, 16, Elliot 13 and Jude, 9, grew up as big fans of the Owls and saw a perfect opportunity to pay tribute to their Grandad when the play-off matches became clear.

Karen said: “Many years before my Dad passed away he wrote us a letter with his request for his funeral arrangements. One of those requests was for his ashes to be scattered at several football grounds. So far we have fulfilled one of those requests when we travelled to Wembley to watch England vs Italy at the Euros final. My Dad was at Wembley for the 1966 final and he often talked about this game to the boys.

“In his final letter, my dad also requested that we scatter his ashes at the Stadium of Light (his team) Hillsborough (the boys team ), Old Trafford (my brother's team) and Bloomfield Road (my team when I was much younger).

The trip to Sunderland would be a special one for Karen and the family and they are hopeful of securing a ticket.

A signed Sunderland shirt owned by Brian

She added: “It would just be amazing to be able to be at the Stadium of Light for the match. My Dad died so suddenly and unexpectedly so it was a huge shock to all the family and has left a hole in all our lives.

“He absolutely loved football and lived and breathed sport in general. He’s brought my sons up to love football and Sunderland was always close to his heart.”

Sunderland are set to take on Sheffield Wednesday in the play-off semi final first leg on Friday, May 6 with the return leg on Monday, May 9.