A family have thanked the community for helping to fill a Swaffham man’s last 18 months with laughter and happiness following the shock diagnosis of a brain tumour.
Spencer Bunkall, 41, died on Saturday after having the final wish on his bucket list fulfilled by European Kite Buggying Freestyle champion, Craig Sparkes.
After he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer weeks before his 40th birthday, friends, family and complete strangers pulled together to make his final wishes a reality.
His wife Gemma, 32, said: “He was just overwhelmed by how many people had come together to help since he was diagnosed – he would get quite emotional about that.
“We’re so grateful and would like to thank everyone for all their support – it was amazing really. It helped us to make the best of a bad situation and the times we did have are all the more meaningful.”
Growing up in Gayton with his parents, Eric and Ann, his sister, Hayley, and brother, Shaun, Spencer attended Gayton Primary School and Grimston Junior before moving on to Springwood High School.
His sister, Hayley Loft, 44, said: “He was a little bit mischievious. He could solve anything with a grin and would get away with murder.
“He was all about cars 24/7. He was a perfectionist, everything had to be just right or he would strip the lot and start again.”
After school, he started an apprenticeship at G&B Autospray before working at Stebbings and then at Flying Colours where he won an award for best paintsprayer in Norfolk several years running. He later started his own business, Spencer’s Mobile Cosmetic Repairs.
Hayley added: “My three children adored him. He was like a brother to them and they’d always be out tinkering in the garage. He once turned my pram into a go-kart for them.”
Gemma met Spencer when she was 16, and after setting up a home together, the couple were thrilled to welcome their daughter Grace, now four, to the family.
She said: “Family was a big thing for him, he was over the moon when I found out I was pregnant and was so proud to have his own little girl. Knowing how much he loves her and how much he had wanted to do with her in the future it’s heartbreaking.”
Hayley added: “He was the best daddy a little girl could have. He was besotted with Grace and she was definitely a daddy’s girl. When she was little, she would refuse to get out of his van.”
Family and friends clubbed together to raise the funds to send the family on one last holiday, the main item on Spencer’s Bucket List, and after a huge donation from Gayton charity, Megan’s Challenge, they reached the target.
Spencer’s tumour had grown and insurers refused to cover the family on their dream holiday to Disneyland Florida, so instead they went to the Paris park.
Gemma said: “The holiday was absolutely brilliant. Grace was over the moon and Spencer loved it as much as she did. When something like this happens, it’s surprising how much people care. They can’t fix it but they do everything they can to make it better and that means a huge amount to us and made a great difference in the end.”
Spencer’s funeral is to take place next Friday at 10am at Mintlyn Crematorium. Close family flowers only, but donations will be collected for Swaffham and Litcham Hospice.