Prince Harry opens memorial to 2015 Tunisia terrorist attacks
Prince Harry has officially dedicated a memorial to the British victims of the 2015 Tunisia terrorist attacks.
The Duke of Sussex attended the ceremony at Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park, alongside the families of the victims, on Monday.
The memorial will be a focus of remembrance for those killed in two separate attacks on the Bardo Museum in Tunis on March 18, and a hotel beach resort in Sousse on June 26.
Addressing an audience of about 200 family and friends of those who died, Prince Harry said: “In memory of all those who lost their lives.
“And to the families whose lives were changed forever by these events.
“I would like to pay my deepest respects to you and officially dedicated this memorial to your loved ones.”
Holding a single white rose, he then turned and walked to the memorial’s centre-piece, where he laid the flower.
At Sousse, 30 British tourists staying at the Hotel Rui Imperial Marhaba complex in Port el Kantaoui were among 38 killed, with dozens more injured.
Sally Adey, a 57-year-old solicitor from Caynton near Shifnal, Shropshire, was the sole British victim of the deadly museum attack, which left 22 dead.
The Sousse terrorist attack was the deadliest on British citizens since the July 7/7 London bombings in 2005.
Islamic State claimed at the time that it was behind the attack by Tunisian student Seifeddine Rezgui.
Among those killed were three members of the same family; Charles Patrick Evans, 78; his son Adrian Evans, 49, and grandson Joel Richards, 19.
Joel’s brother Owen Richards, then 16, survived and was later praised for his bravery at the scene by a coroner at inquests into the deaths.
After the attacks, he and his mother Suzanne Richards set up the Smile for Joel Charity, providing support for other victims of terrorism.
Speaking after the ceremony, Mrs Richards said: “We’re looking forward to seeing the memorial being officially unveiled. We had a sneaky peak yesterday and it was beautiful.
“It’s lovely to think people can actually come and see all the names of those killed and reflect on what happened.
“It is very difficult and also today is my Dad’s (Charles’) birthday.”
Owen Richards, now 19 and studying at university, said: “Its really important not just for the families but also generally for the wider public to take an interest and be able to remember what happened, and not forget it.
“Because there were things that should have been learned from that day and by remembering it hopefully those lessons (will be learned) and it will stop it happening again.”
He added: “It’s a bit of a hectic, intense day.
“It’s Grandad’s birthday today which is kind of nice but obviously makes it a little bit harder.”
Mrs Richards added that the charity, Smile for Joel, set up 18 months ago was also now reaching out to families affected by murder in the UK as well as terrorism, particularly given the recent spate of gun and knife attacks.
“It’s lovely because every week, we get requests for help and it’s lovely to be able to give help in their names,” she added.
The mother and son also performed a reading at the dedication, called “We Remember Them”.
Mrs Richards said: “We chose a reading about remembering them, because that is what this is all about.
“We want to make sure that people never forget that people went on holiday and never came home.
“The work I’m doing with the travel industry I’m hoping to make changes so that never happens again.”
Seven people were sentenced to life in prison in Tunisia, in February, in connection with both attacks.
The park site was selected in consultation with the families due to its central location, its “seclusion and tranquillity” and as “being a place of public prominence”, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said previously.
The memorial has been designed by George King Architects and overlooks the park’s boating lake.
The centre piece of the memorial is a sculpture titled ‘Infinite Wave’ made up of 31 individual stainless steel rods, each representing the Britons who lost their lives.
From the side, the memorial also takes the shape of a dove of peace taking flight, while concentric rings of stone and turf ripple outwards.
The FCO developed the memorial, consulting with families on the design and location.
In 2016, Prince Harry attended a service at Westminster Abbey for the victims, and gave a reading.