THOUSANDS of dollars have been raised to help the families of a British couple who died within hours of each other in Australia just days before Christmas.
Jason Francis was hit by a car, reportedly driven by a pizza delivery worker, near the home he shared with his partner Alice Robinson in Perth.
Following his death, Ms Robinson, who was said to have been left ‘heartbroken’, was found dead.
More than 29,000 dollars (£16,000) has been raised for the bereaved families of the couple, believed to be from Shropshire, since a fundraising page was set up on Christmas Eve.
Mr Francis had been on a day out with some other friends from the rugby club who organised a taxi home for him on Saturday evening.
The 29-year-old was on the carriageway in the beachside suburb of Scarborough when he was hit by a white VW Jetta, driven by an 18-year-old man, Western Australia Police said.
Sam Diamond, president of Cottelsoe rugby club, which Mr Francis had joined at the beginning of the year after moving to the area, said he understood Ms Robinson had gone outside to investigate when she saw the flashing emergency lights.
He said: ‘She was told by first responders that it was Jason they were working on.’
He said she had been left ‘heartbroken’ by her partner’s death, which was confirmed at Royal Perth Hospital.
He said: ‘We don’t know what happened to her after this. I know the police have launched an inquiry into it. She has gone missing after notifying some of our friends of what’s happened (to Mr Francis) and hasn’t been found until the next morning.’
A police spokesman said: ‘Police will investigate this matter and prepare a report for the coroner, which will include the full circumstances leading to the woman’s death.’
They have also appealed for witnesses to the collision in Scarborough’s Stanley Street at around 8pm on Saturday.
Mr Diamond said the couple had made a big impression on the community in their short time there.
‘They were two of the finest people you could meet. They well and truly ingrained themselves in our club. Both Jase on the field and Alice off the field.
‘They were an integral part (of the club).’
He described Alice, who worked for a digital marketing company but was also a talented pencil sketch artist, as having ‘an infectious laugh’ and being ‘very bubbly’.
He added: ‘Jason was the sort of person that’s always got the time of day for everyone. Loved talking, loved working out, loved staying fit and healthy.
‘They were just genuine, down-to-earth, fantastic people.’
He said the mothers of both Mr Francis, who was in the process of becoming a firefighter in Australia, and Ms Robinson had expressed their appreciation for the funds raised.
He said: ‘(They) thanked us for the support and have shown their appreciation for what the club and the community here is trying to do for them and Jase and Alice.’
Mr Diamond said the club hopes to hold a memorial service for the couple at a later date.
The captain of Market Drayton Town football club in Shropshire, which Mr Francis had played for, also paid tribute.
Paul McMullen said: ‘You young man were such a fine piece of our puzzle at MDTFC during our success and it was a pleasure to be part of it playing alongside you.’