A UNIVERSITY of Worcester student who was murdered in the Tunisian terror attacks has been honoured during a moving ceremony attended by HRH the Duke of Gloucester.
Joel Richards was remembered by his family and friends during the service yesterday (Tuesday) which saw the Conference and Media Suite at the University of Worcester dedicated in his name.
The teenager was a Physical Education and Sports Coaching Science student at the university and was hailed as a ‘gifted student with a passion for teaching’.
Joel was just 19-years-old when his life was tragically taken during the machine gun attack in Sousse on June 26 last year where his uncle, Adrian Evans, a member of Sandwell Council, and his grandfather, Patrick Evans also lost their lives along with 30 other British victims.
During the ceremony, The Duke spoke candidly in his role as the university’s Chancellor about the tragic loss of a young life.
Joel’s mother Suzy, brother Owen and grandmother Maureen, were among the many guests at the dedication event and were joined by other family members, friends, classmates of Joel’s and the University staff who taught him.
Suzy also spoke movingly about her son and the charity, Smile for Joel, which she hopes will raise money for Victim Support.
It’s hoped the new suite will celebrate and remember the tremendous impact Joel had on all those he met.
Speaking after the event, Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Worcester, said: “We are hugely proud that Joel was one of our students, who is remembered for his ability to inspire those around him
“The naming ceremony was a celebration of the wonderful achievements of a truly remarkable young man, whose life was cruelly taken,” he said.
Professor Green said it was ‘very fitting’ Joel’s name would live on inside the University of Worcester Arena.
“It’s an inspirational building that was borne out of the very principles to which Joel was committed, true inclusion and helping each person to make more of their own rich human potential.” he added.
Heartbroken staff and students at the University have remembered Joel in a variety of ways since his tragic death.
The dedicated football referee was nominated by course leader Rebecca Forster for a special posthumous Unsung Hero award in November last year, which acknowledged the inspirational commitment and contribution he made to the sport.
Visit www.facebook.com/smileforjoel for more information about Smile for Joel.