AN appeal has been launched so the family of a 42-year-old dad who died suddenly just before Christmas can stay in their home.
Described as a jovial character with an infectious laugh and who loved life, Nick Francis suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage on 15th December.
A sales manager for an IT firm, he lived in Fordingbridge with his fiancé Sharon, their sons aged one and three, and an 11-year-old stepson.
Following the tragedy, Nick’s childhood friend Kevin Holmes launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise £12,000 to cover the family’s rent and living expenses for the next six months.
Kevin said: “Nick’s death leaves his family in a precarious financial situation that will cause them to be uprooted from the family home in the New Year.
“They are going through a torrid time already, even without the additional worry and hardship of having to move away from their long-term home so soon after their devastating loss.
“The figure that we are aiming to raise will enable them to remain in the home – and keep the car. Most importantly, it will enable Sharon to provide for the children.”
Kevin first met Nick at Highcliffe Junior School, and they became best friends when they moved up to the comprehensive.
He said: “We spent a lot of time fishing together at places such as Hordle Lakes. We also enjoyed playing computer games on his Amiga 64.”
Following the announcement of Nick’s death on social media, his family have been inundated with messages of support from friends and colleagues.
Kevin added: “Nick adored spending time with his three boys and often proudly told me about them and the fun things that they did together.
“Although he thoroughly enjoyed his job, he couldn’t wait to get home to play with them and find out what they had been up to during the day.
“He was happily introducing them to many of the interests that he enjoyed, including fishing in the little river that ran through their garden. They never caught anything there, but that didn’t bother him: he just wanted to spend some quality outdoor time with his boys.”
Since setting up the Go Fund me campaign Kevin said the family has been overwhelmed by the response, which has so far resulted in donations totalling £3,615.
“They certainly do not expect any help but they do need it,” he explained. “Any assistance will mean the world to them, be massively appreciated and help to ease the enormous burden of worry and uncertainty that is dominating their immediate future.
“They are already grieving the loss of a loved one this Christmas – I would like for us to be able to help them move into 2020 with some stability and positivity to look forward to.”
“The family is truly humbled by the unexpected support that they have already received from the campaign. They have had donations from all over the world from friends, family and strangers alike. It means a great deal to them that so many people have shown so much kindness.
“Nick was a jovial man with a distinctive and infectious laugh, who enjoyed nothing more than spending time with his family and friends, and having them all in stitches with his silly jokes. His sudden death was a massive shock for all of us and we are struggling terribly to accept that he is gone.”
To support the Go Fund Me campaign visit www.gofundme.com/f/fundraising-for-bereaved-family-of-nick-francis.