Express & Star

Hundreds take part in annual charity run to honour three generations of family killed in terror attack

Hundreds of people took part in an annual charity run in Sandwell Valley to honour three generations of a family who were killed in a terror attack.

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The eighth staging of Run For Joel attracted people of all ages who took part in events of varying length for the Smile for Joel Charity which supports bereaved people across the UK.

The Smile For Joel charity staged their Run for Joel event at Sandwell Park in West Bromwich.. Many people dressed in colourful costumes and had their hair dyed as part of the charity's links with Ministry of Colours

The charity was set up following the terrorist attack in Tunisia in June 2015, when 38 tourists were killed including teenager Joel Richards from Wednesbury, his uncle Adrian and grandfather Pat.

Joel’s younger brother Owen survived the attack and he and his mother Suzy Richards founded Smile for Joel to support other families torn apart by murder and violence.

Sunday's event, hosted by Daz Hale from the BBC, raised £5,790 for the charity and many people who had done all the runs sported wristbands from each one which are given out instead of medals.

As well as 3k and 5k runs, there was also a colour blast start, meaning the runners were sprayed with colourful powders, which made for vibrant pictures.

The charity last year teamed up with the government to help keep British tourists safe when they travel abroad.

The Smile For Joel charity held their Run for Joel event at Sandwell Park in West Bromwich. Many runners dressed up in colourful clothing and had their hair dyed for the occasion.
The Smile For Joel charity held their Run for Joel event at Sandwell Park in West Bromwich. Hundreds turned out to raise money in memory of Suzy Richard's son Joel, dad Pat and brother Ade who died in a terrorist attack on a Tunisian beach in June 2015

In February, Suzy was awarded the MBE for services to people bereaved by homicide from the Princess Royal.

She was at the Sandwell Valley event along with former Albion and Aston Villa footballer Marc Albrighton whose mother in law also died in the attack.

The Smile For Joel charity held their Run for Joel event at Sandwell Park in West Bromwich. Pictured is Joel's Mom; Suzy Richards with ex West Bromwich Albion and Villa player Marc Albrighton and his daughters: Matilda 12 and Dolly 10 who took part in the event – Marc's mother in law also died in the Tunisian beach attack

She said: "So many people turned out again it was wonderful, many sporting wristbands from the previous runs and once again it turned out to be a lovely family occasion.

"We moved the event to June because of the significance of the anniversary and next year it will be 10 years since the tragedy happened.

"We have something special planned for that anniversary which will be a wing walk but I would just like to thank everyone who turned out for the run and continue to support the charity which supports bereaved families across the UK and raises awareness of safety abroad when travelling."

Marc Albrighton said he was proud to support the charity and the annual event as it was a cause close to his and his family's heart.

He said: "I was delighted to be here today and support the work Suzy and the team do on behalf of all the victims of the attack and bereaved families across the UK."

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