Jack Grealish donates £5,000 to funeral fund for Villa fan Shawn Francis

Shawn Francis, 29, was expecting his first child this summer with his partner of five years, Danielle. Credit: PA Images / BPM Media

Jack Grealish has donated £5,000 to help with funeral costs after an Aston Villa fan was found dead on Saturday.

Shawn Francis, 29, was expecting his first child this summer with his partner of five years, Danielle.

A donation page set up in his memory has already raised more than £21,000 - which includes a £5,000 donation from friend and Manchester City forward Grealish.

A tribute on Shawn's Instagram page read: "Heaven gained the most beautiful and purest angel of all.

"Our hearts will forever be missing a huge piece that you filled. You were the most caring, loving, honest and fun person who deserved more from life.

"Our son will be your legacy and we know that through him you will always be with us. He will always know how special and amazing his daddy is.

"Words will never measure the joy and love you brought us all and, until we meet again, love you. Rest in heavenly paradise, you have gone home to your mom and dad now. Love you always our angel."

A donation page set up in his memory has already raised more than £21,000 for Shawn Francis. Credit: BPM Media

Andrew Inwood, who has set up a donation page to help Shawn’s family, posted: “Our hearts are heavy as we write this note for support.

"Our dear friend and brother, Shawn Francis, has left us far too soon, leaving behind a loving partner who is pregnant with their first child and a brother who he was bonded with and loved dearly.

"We are all devastated by this loss, but our focus now is on supporting his family during this very difficult time. We cannot imagine the pain his family must be feeling, knowing that Danielle will soon bring their son into the world without Shawn by her side.

"It breaks all of our hearts to think about the challenges that lie ahead for them, and we want to do everything we can to ease their burden.

"We want to raise funds to support Shawn's family, to help cover the costs of the funeral and raising a baby, and lower the financial burden after such a devastating tragedy."We want to give baby L, who will be a nephew to all of us, the best possible start in life, and we know that our friends and the wider community can come together to make a positive difference."If you knew Shawn personally you know he lived his life through kindness, and any donations will be greatly appreciated. If he was still with us, we are sure he would insert a joke of some form right here."We are currently too heartbroken to think of one but rest assured we know the banter would be out in full.

"If you can spare anything, big or small, consider making a donation to help support Shawn’s family. Every little bit counts and your generosity will make a world of difference to a family that is hurting so deeply.

"Let's come together to honour Shawn’s memory and support the family he loved eternally. We love you always, Shawn."

Grealish made 213 appearances for Villa, before leaving in 2021 for Manchester City. Credit: PA Images

A balloon release will be held on Saturday at the Castle Vale Stadium, Farnborough Road.

It will begin from 3.00pm onwards and those in attendance have been asked to bring claret and blue balloons given Shawn’s love of Aston Villa.

Long-time friend Kieran James said: “As a friend he was the life and soul of the party - and enjoyed putting a smile on people’s faces and was the most kind-hearted man you could ever wish to meet.

"He’s a proper family man, loved his partner Danielle, brothers, nieces and nephews. He was very excited about becoming a dad to a little boy and often joked about ‘Project Grealish’ with his firstborn.

"Shawn was a huge Aston Villa fan and had a season ticket in the Holte End for years and travelled to games home and away.

Jack Grealish, from Birmingham, made 213 appearances for Villa before leaving for City in 2021.