27th Feb, 2020

Runners stride out in memory of tragic Joel

CARING staff at the University of Worcester completed the Birmingham Half Marathon to honour one of its students tragically killed in the 2015 Tunisian terror attack.

Four staff covered the 13.1 mile course on Sunday, (October 15), raising funds for Smile for Joel.

Chosen by staff as the university’s Charity of the Year for this year, Smile for Joel was set up by Joel Richards’ family to support families who are victims of murder and terrorism.

Joel was a physical education and sports coaching science student at the University of Worcester.

Aged just 19, he was killed in the 2015 terror attack at the tourist resort of Port El Kantaoui near the city of Sousse, in which 38 people died, including Joel’s uncle, Adrian Evans, and grandfather, Patrick Evans.

Charlie Bassett, from the university’s finance team, Mark Kilburn and Steve Harborne, from facilities, and Neil Laurenson, who works in the careers service, all took to the streets to raise funds.

Neil finished in an impressive one hour 17 minutes, coming in 19th place, followed by Charlie at one hour 58 minutes, then Mark, at two hours 15 minutes and Steve at two hours 19 minutes.

They still hope to reach their fund-raising target of £500.

“It was a privilege to run the Birmingham Half Marathon with university colleagues to raise money for Smile for Joel,” said Neil.

“The run itself was tough but enjoyable and the level of support was beyond anything I had ever experienced. Whilst it was nice to achieve personal bests, we were most proud of running for Joel Richards and his family.”

Mark added: “I think that the good cause definitely helped me press on during those times in the race when I began to tire.

“Distance runners usually experience negative emotions along the lines of ‘I can’t go on’ and ‘Why on earth are you doing this?’ but such thoughts were easily banished.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/universityof worcesterstaff to donate.

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