Woman who lost father, brother and son in Tunisia terror attack ‘still travels’

A campaigner who lost her father, brother and son in the Tunisia terror attack has said she is “determined” to still travel after being made an MBE by the Princess Royal.

Suzanne Richards, 54, from Wednesbury in the West Midlands, set up the Smile for Joel charity after Charles “Patrick” Evans, 78, Adrian Evans, 49, and Joel Richards, 19, were killed by a lone gunman.

A total of 30 Britons were among 39 who died in the attack in the resort of Port El Kantaoui near Sousse on June 26, 2015.

Ms Richards was given the honour for services to people bereaved by homicide at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.

King’s Birthday Honours list 2023
Suzanne Jacqueline Richards from Smile For Joel (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Her 24-year-old son Owen, who survived the attack, was with her as she was given the award.

She told the PA news agency she is “determined” to still see the world after Anne asked whether she still travels.

She said: “She (Anne) knew all about the charity, she knew all about what happened in Tunisia and the work that we’re doing, which was lovely that she knew all about it.

“We explained what I’m still trying to do, raising awareness to holiday safety, and she said that was a great idea and she asked if I still travelled and I said yes.

“We lost so much that day, I’m still determined to travel and so is Owen to see the world.

She said the day was “very bittersweet” and that she would “change it all today” if she could have her father, son and brother back.

She added: “People say time is a great healer but it’s not. I think time just gives you strength to try and deal with those good days and bad days, but just keep going, especially with myself and the charity I’m able to talk about my dad and my brother and son every day, which keeps me going and makes me smile.

“My dad and brother and Joel would be absolutely ecstatic to see what I’ve won, but I would change it all today if I could and have them back here.

“When I first had the letter to say that I’d been nominated, I cried. It was very emotional.”

Tunisia beach massacre inquest
Suzanne Richards arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice in London (Nick Ansell/PA)

After being awarded the honour in the King’s birthday honours list last year, she said she would share it with Owen.

He told PA: “It was an incredibly proud moment for me today to watch mum. I see all the work that she does back at home for the charity, late nights, packing teddy bears, packing wristbands, planning events, the stress.

“It’s so heartwarming to see that recognition go here, all the way to Buckingham Palace.

“My mum is inspiring and fantastic and she really deserves this.”