THE devastated family of Tunisia shooting victim Joel Richards have released a statement as they struggle to come to terms with their loss.
Joel, 19, died in last Friday’s shooting – alongside his grandfather Patrick Evans, 78, and his 44-year-old uncle Adrian Evans.
“We are a very small and normal family, but nothing will ever be normal again,” said Suzanne Richards, Joel’s mother. “My son Joel, dad Pat and brother Adrian were our rocks and we are all heartbroken and devastated and will never get over losing them.”
Suzanne’s younger son, 16-year-old Owen Richards, survived the attack. Both brothers were GAA fanatics.
Despite having no Irish heritage, the pair were heavily involved in James Connolly’s Gaelic Football Club in their native Warwickshire since childhood.
The club paid tribute to Joel, Patrick and Adrian in a minute’s silence before their championship quarter final last night.
Ms Richards also revealed how their celebratory trip had been cut tragically short in the shooting, on June 26.
“The ‘jolly boys outing’ as they called it, was to celebrate Joel finishing his second year at university with high grades and Owen finishing his GCSE’s,” the devastated mother said.
“Their holiday lasted less than 24 hours and their futures and lives ended tragically.”
Tributes have been pouring in for the victims of the shooting in the days since the incident occurred.
Despite her grief, Ms Richards remained strong in her stance against ISIS, who have claimed responsibility for the attack.
“As a nation we must fight this evil together and smile for Joel, Ade and Pat,” she said.