Suzy and Owen Richards are the inspirational mother and son behind SmileForJoel – a charity supporting victims of murder and terrorism and their families.
Owen and his brother Joel, uncle Adrian and grandfather Pat, were on holiday in Tunisia in 2015 when a gunman attacked the resort. Owen survived but, tragically, Joel, Pat and Adrian – who worked for Sandwell Council – were killed.
Suzy and Owen, who are from Wednesbury, set up Smile For Joel. It’s a charity aimed at fundraising for Victim Support to help families suffering after losing a loved one to homicide.
They have raised thousands of pounds by organising numerous events such as their flagship annual RunforJoel event at Sandwell Valley Park, skydives, zipwiring, dinners and more, while also championing sport, education and safety in travel.
Suzy and Owen have both remained so incredibly strong through such an unimaginably difficult time.
And in July 2022, Suzy and Owen will be Batonbearers in the Queen’s Baton Relay when it comes to Sandwell.
Suzy said: “My son Owen has overcome adversity and has shown great courage after being a victim in the 2015 Tunisia atrocity, at just 16.
“Owen was injured and witnessed the death of his brother Joel, grandad Pat and uncle Adrian. Despite such a horrific loss and life-changing experience, he continued his sports studies at university. He then decided he wanted to make a difference to other families affected by homicide.
“Owen is the co-founder of the charity Smileforjoel.com which supports victims of homicide. Owen is an inspiration to his local community and other young people of his age.”
Suzy and Owen, you are inspirational.
Find out more about our incredible day when the Queen’s Baton Relay came to Sandwell!