University Staff Complete Challenge in Memory of Former Student Raising £15,000 for Charity


The 100 Miles for Joel challenge saw them take on a variety of physical challenges, including cycling, canoeing, running, swimming and tractor pulling, adding up to 100 miles over a 24-hour period.

The total now stands at £15,106 raised for SmileForJoel, a registered charity set up by the mother and brother of Joel Richards." Joel was a University of Worcester student who, aged just 19, was among those tragically murdered in the Tunisia terror attack in 2015, along with his uncle, Adrian Evans, and grandfather, Pat Evans.

His mother Suzy Richards, who came and watched some of the events, said: "I think it's absolutely lovely to think all of this was for SmileForJoel. It's so touching. A lot of these people didn't necessarily know Joel yet they're still doing it. I'm just amazed at just how much time and planning went into the whole event."

She paid tribute to the University and Vice Chancellor Professor David Green"s support ever since Joel's tragic death.

"For a university to care so much and offer this support " you think they'll be forgotten, but Joel clearly won't be forgotten here at Worcester. I just wish he was here to see this. Joel would have loved the competitiveness of it. This event was such a fitting tribute and something that he would have loved to plan and get involved in. He was so good at organising events.

"Joel was quite humble; he never realised how good he was, which is a nice quality to have, and he'd be overwhelmed that all these staff did this."

The challenge, which ran over a 24-hour period at the weekend (June 8 and 9), included a 25-mile overnight walk, a 51-mile cycle, a 14-mile canoe on the River Severn, a 10-mile run and a 300m outdoor swim at the University's Lakeside Campus, as well as a basketball challenge, archery and a 100m tractor pull.

Taking place at University of Worcester venues, but also on routes around Worcestershire and Shropshire, it was designed to reflect Physical Education and Sports Coaching Science student Joel's interest in numerous sports.

Teams from a number of different departments within the University took part, as well as a team from the University's Seniors Programme " members of the public aged 60 or above who attend adapted fitness sessions " and Quanta, a training company with whom the University works.

Organiser Tom Taylor, the University's Assistant Director - Security and Operations, said: "All teams had their own strategy for the night and day and were very much working together as teams. The atmosphere and competitiveness throughout the whole event was a combination of fun and a desire to compete as best you can. There is no doubt this charity has touched many of those competing in different ways and has helped in bringing colleagues together."

Rebecca Foster, PE Course Leader and Senior Lecturer for Adapted PE, who taught Joel during his time at the University, was part of a team from the Institute of Sport, and did half the walk and cycle, the archery and the tractor pull.

"The walk I found probably the most difficult because we were walking so quickly on a variety of different terrains and my feet were aching," she said. "The bike ride was brilliant " it was a great course and there was a lot of support on the route from both staff and the public. The tractor pull was probably the most horrendous physical activity I have done in a number of years.

"I thought the atmosphere of the charity challenge was excellent and it was in the spirit of who Joel was. I am sure he would've wanted to help organise it and be part of it. I thought the staff and competitors were amazing and this was their way of supporting Suzy and her family. There's so many people that have been touched by what's happened to them that staff felt the very least they could do was give up their time to raise money for them."

To sponsor the University's team visit the fundraising page.

To find out more about SmileForJoel or how to help visit