Mother to jump from plane in memory of son killed in Tunisia terror attack

A mother who lost her son, brother and father in the Tunisia terrorist attack in 2015 is to jump out of a plane with her surviving son to honour their memories and mark the sixth anniversary of the tragedy.

Suzy, Joel and Owen
Suzy, Joel and Owen

Suzy Evans, 52, and son Owen, 22, will skydive together with family and friends of the 38 victims on July 3 to raise money for Smile For Joel, the charity they set to help other families torn apart by murder.

Suzy, from Wednesbury, lost her son Joel, 19, brother Adrian, 49, and father Patrick, 78 on June 26, 2015.

Owen was just 16 at the time and was on holiday with his brother, uncle and grandad. He survived the attack.

The tandem skydive, at Whitchurch Airfield in Shropshire, will see Suzy, Owen and Suzy’s cousin Claire Webb joined by Lee Stocker, who is taking part in memory of his parents John and Janet Stocker from Morden, south London; Jordan Lovett, who is jumping in memory of her sister Carly Lovett from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire and Lewis Burbridge, who lost his grandma Lisa Burbridge, from Whickham, Gateshead, in the attack.

Another 32 other friends and supporters will also be jumping to ensure each of the 38 victims is represented.

Joel Richards, Patrick Evans and Adrian Evans

“We have got Joel’s old teachers and lecturers from Stuart Bathurst and Wood Green schools and Worcester University taking part,” said Suzy.

“We have two police officers jumping, a representative from Victim Support and members of the public who have joined the team to support us.

“The response has been incredible.”

Suzy said the event should have happened last year but was delayed due to Covid.

“It has been so long in the planning I just can’t wait to do it,” said Suzy.

“We just hope it does not get spoilt because of the weather because we have 38 people taking part and to arrange another date would be quite challenging.”

Suzy said all the participants will get a “Jump for Joel” hoodie as a thank you.

"We are excited but it is a bit daunting,” said Suzy.

“I am not that good with heights.”

It is hoped the jump will raise £30,000 for Smile For Joel which helps families who have been affected by murder with financial support.

The Smile for Joel charity has raised £300,000

“Every client has different needs,” said Suzy.

“It could be that they have less income.

“If they need help with paying bills or they need to get away for a weekend, if their washing machine breaks down, or need to pay for school uniforms, we will pay for it for them.”

“It is all about making smiles,” she said.

Suzy said that Smile For Joel has helped her, and her son Owen, in the years since the attack.

“When someone is murdered it is a different feeling than if someone dies through illness,” she said.

“It is horrific, there are so many ‘whys’ and questions - we know what it feels like.

“My son, brother and dad were three amazing men - they would help anyone and to have this legacy in their name helps me.

“It makes us feel proud that people want to donate and we are then able to support other families.”

The anniversary of the attack on June 26 is something Suzy and Owen have to endure every year, together with other occasions such as birthdays.

“We feel the loss every day,” she said.

Suzy Evans, with Joel and Owen

“I saw my dad every day and my brother was like a father figure to the boys.

“It does not get easier but time allows you to get a little bit stronger to deal with the anniversaries.”

Owen graduated from Worcester University on Thursday with a degree in Sport and Suzy was thrilled for him.

“My dad, brother and son would have been so proud of what Owen has achieved given what happened to him,” she said.

“He went back to school - that took guts. He is remarkable.

“For me, I am still a mum.

“I could have lost Owen as well but by some miracle he survived which gave me a reason to carry on.

“I love him to bits. Being his mum is my role.

“It could have been even worse - I could have lost them all.”

Suzy wished to thank everyone for their continued support of Smile For Joel, and everyone who has given to the charity and donated to support those participating in the skydive.

To find out more about Smile For Joel visit smileforjoel.com

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