Birmingham & Black Country

Tunisia attack victim referee Joel Richards wins award

Joel Richards Image copyright Suzy Evans
Image caption The dedication Joel Richards showed to refereeing has been recognised with a posthumous award

A young referee killed in a terror attack has been recognised with a BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Special Award.

Joel Richards, from Wednesbury, was killed alongside uncle Adrian Evans, grandfather Patrick Evans and 35 others in the terrorist attacks near Sousse, Tunisia, this year.

Now the 19-year-old Walsall fan's family is to be presented with a posthumous award.

Friends and colleagues praised Mr Richards and his dedication to sport.

Suzanne, his mother, said: "The community, as well as his friends and family, have lost so much.

"In 19 years he did more for the sports community than most will ever do."

Image copyright Suzy Evans
Image caption Joel Richards was described as a "talented referee"

Rebecca Foster, who led Mr Richards on his PE course at Worcester University, said he was "an exceptional student" and natural role model whose "infectious personality" made him popular throughout the university.

"He was very hard-working, he was conscientious, and he motivated those other students around him," she said.

"Should he [have] wanted to go into teaching he would have had his hand snapped off to be a PGCE applicant at any university, but equally he was a very talented referee, and I know that the FA probably would have headhunted him too.

"I think really the world was his oyster."

Jeremy Kamp lived with Mr Richards as they studied together in Worcester, and said his friend's passion for sport would never be forgotten.

"He'd literally try anything, that was what was so good about Joel," he said.

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