More than £43,000 raised in memory of Tunisia terror victims with tandem skydive

More than £43,000 has been raised through a fundraising skydive over the West Midlands in memory of the people killed in the Tunisia terrorist attack in 2015.

Owen Richards and mother Suzy Evans
Owen Richards and mother Suzy Evans

Suzy Evans and her son Owen jumped out of a plane over Shropshire with others at 10,000ft to honour the memories of those who died and raise money for Smile for Joel.

Suzy, from Wednesbury, lost her son Joel, 19, brother Adrian, 49, and father Patrick, 78, on June 26, 2015, in a terrorist attack which saw 38 people killed.

It has led to the Smile for Joel charity being set up to help families torn apart by murder and terrorism by raising awareness and supporting those in need.

And for the skydive at Tilstock Airfield, in Whitchurch, Shropshire, Suzy and Owen were joined by members of other families who also lost their loved ones.

Owen Richards and mother Suzy Evans.
The event was held in Whitchurch at Tilstock Airfield
Owen Richards and mother Suzy Evans
Rebecca Foster from Worcester took on the tandem skydive
Owen Richards and mother Suzy Evans

A total of 13 out of the group – made up of family members of the 38 victims of the attack – managed to take on the challenge before the bad weather set in.

But the event, nicknamed Jump for Joel, was hailed as a tremendous success with more than £43,000 raised so far through the tandem skydive on Saturday.

Suzy said: "I'd personally say it's a once in a life-time experience – all the other jumpers said they would do it again, but once is enough for me. It was amazing, but sadly not everyone got to jump [because of the weather] so there's another jump date to sort out. We had 13 people who managed to get to jump in, so we've got some more to go and we will get a date booked in the diary for them.

"Everyone was so supportive, but it was horrendous [the nerves] – it was the most terrifying thing I've ever done, but Owen loved it. Once the parachute opens you know you're going to be ok and you can take in the English countryside, so once that happened it was amazing. But it was scary, very scary - but amazing. I've never been so excited and horrified at the same time."

The 52-year-old said the event had been postponed four times, due to Covid-19 and the weather, and said it was "great" to take on the challenge after all of the delays. "I want to thank everyone who took part, and thank you for the donations as well. We're still as excited because we've got the event to do again for those who didn't jump," she said.

Other jumps have also been held across the UK, besides this event, to ensure each of the 38 victims of the terrorist attack has been represented. People who wish to donate can visit smileforjoel.com

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