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Tunisia massacre Britons remembered in heartfelt funeral tributes

Published 17/07/2015

Joel Richards, 19, died in the terrorist attack on hotels in Sousse, Tunisia (West Midlands Police/PA)
Joel Richards, 19, died in the terrorist attack on hotels in Sousse, Tunisia (West Midlands Police/PA)

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to eight Britons killed in the Tunisia beach massacre, including three generations of the same family gunned down as they shielded each other.

Joel Richards, 19, his uncle, Adrian Evans, and the teenager's grandfather, Charles Patrick Evans, were described at their funeral as the "true definition" of a close-knit family.

Joel's 16-year-old brother ,Owen, who survived the Sousse shootings, and their mother, Suzanne Richards, attended the joint service in West Bromwich.

Meanwhile, the fiance of Carly Lovett overcame his grief to act as a pall-bearer at her funeral in Lincolnshire.

In an emotional address to mourners at All Saints Church in Gainsborough, Liam Moore spoke of the last moments they spent together.

Miss Lovett, a 24-year-old graduate, was on her first "couple's holiday" with Mr Moore when she was shot.

He told her funeral: "She told me that she loved me, I told her that I loved her.

"I hope that she took comfort in knowing that I was there with her. I would never have left her as she would never have left me."

Mr Moore and Miss Lovett were childhood sweethearts who had recently become engaged after more than 10 years together.

He said: "She was my idol, my inspiration, my hero. Even though we had been together for so long, it felt to me like our lives had only just started."

The funerals of Sue Davey, from Staffordshire, and Bruce Wilkinson, of Lincolnshire, also took place today, while a service was held in London for Janet and John Stocker.

Adrian Evans, a 49-year-old gas services manager, 78-year-old Charles Evans, known to friends as Pat, and Joel Richards were killed within 24 hours of arriving in the popular resort of Sousse.

Mandy Churchill, speaking on behalf of their family, told the joint funeral that, along with Owen, they were the "true definition of what a close-knit family was all about".

Ms Churchill said that losing one family member was painful enough, never mind having three lives "so cruelly taken".

"The fact this relationship is over is far too painful to contemplate," she went on, adding that Owen was now the family's priority.

Adrian Scarrott, Adrian Evans' boss at Sandwell Council, said he had been "a privilege to work with", and joked about his taste for country singer Dolly Parton's music.

"Ade was never mean and never moody and on a bad day Ade was the one that always had a knack of cheering people up," he said.

He paid tribute to Mr Evans' "massive heart" and generosity.

Mike Penn, chairman of Birmingham County FA, spoke of promising referee Joel and his "infectious smile".

Mr Penn said he had "no doubt" that the University of Worcester student would have reached the pinnacle of the refereeing profession in the Premier League.

Monsignor Bruce Harbert said his thoughts and prayers were with Owen.

Paying tribute to all three victims, the clergyman said: "Even in their last moments they stayed together, seeking to protect each other, a true Christian family to the end.

"Happily, Owen is still with us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Owen, wishing you a long, happy and fruitful life, supported by the prayer of your brother, your uncle and your grandfather."

Elsewhere, the grown-up children of Sue Davey walked behind her coffin, borne by a horse-drawn carriage, as it arrived for her funeral in Tamworth, Staffordshire.

Ms Davey, 43, was on holiday with partner Scott Chalkley, who also died in the shootings.

Hundreds also turned out for the funeral of Bruce Wilkinson in Goole, East Yorkshire.

Among those in attendance was local MP Andrew Percy, who has been supporting the 72-year-old grandfather's relatives.

Mr Percy wrote on Twitter: "Very moving funeral service for Goole man Bruce Wilkinson this morning. Town did Bruce proud in show of support."

Tributes were also paid to married couple 74-year-old John Stocker and his wife Janet, 63, at a service in south-west London.

Their family said in a statement: "They made a huge impact on our lives, and touched the hearts of so many people."

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