A GROUP of friends are fundraising to cover the costs of a funeral for a former Chirk AAA player after his shock death.

Darren Stretch, of Cefn Mawr, was found dead at his home on Wednesday at the age of 45.

His sudden death came as a shock to those who knew him, and prompted his friends to start a fundraising page to help cover the costs of his funeral.

Lars Stanley Hughes said Darren was his best friend, with the pair having known each other since they were schoolchildren.

“I grew up with Darren, we’ve been best mates since school together,” he said.

“He’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever known, he was such a character.

“He really was one of the nicest lads you could ever meet.

“It’s a huge shock to everyone.”

Lars has set up a JustGiving page aiming to raise £3,000 for his friend’s funeral; the page has already raised almost half of the target.

He added: “We want to raise as much money as we can to help cover the funeral costs for his family.

“We want to do all we can to give him a proper send off.

“The last thing we want in this situation is his family being left with the costs of the funeral by themselves.

“With Darren being the type of man he was, we all know he’d have done the same for anyone else.”

Anyone wishing to donate can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/larsstanleyhughes