A KIDDERMINSTER karate club is fundraising in honour of a late friend who died in the Tunisian terror attacks of 2015.

Young Gloves Karate has chosen the Smile For Joel campaign as their charity for 2020, a cause close the heart of instructor and school teacher Samantha Thomas.

Joel Richards was a physical education and sports coaching science student at the University of Worcester.

His life was cut short aged just 19 in the June 2015 terror attack at the tourist resort of Port El Kantaoui in Tunisia. His uncle, Adrian Evans, and grandfather, Patrick Evans, were also killed.

Joel was Samantha's dance and gymnastics partner at university and the two previously scored A grades for their performances.

Samantha Thomas, daughter of club boss Justin Thomas, said: "I knew Joel was on holiday there and when I heard about the shootings I messaged him to see if he was okay – You never think these things are going to affect you.

"I met Joel whilst studying at the University of Worcester and he became a wonderful friend who I’ll always remember.

"I was absolutely horrified and to this day still feel like Joel was cheated out of his wonderful future which I know he would have had.

"Joel had an infectious smile and personality, he would have me in hysterics at every lecture and we had the best times at university."

She says that her friend also had ambitions to become a school teacher.

The club will be undertaking a range of fundraising activities throughout the year, which includes a half marathon, fun run, a dress-up week and other themed events.

They have set a target of reaching between £5,000 and £10,000 for their chosen charity.

Over the past ten years the club has raised over £65,000 for local charities.

Young Gloves manager Sensei Justin Thomas said: "This is a really big year for us. We have set ourselves a massive target.

"We were all devastated when we found out about Joel. You really don't think something like that is going to happen.

"We are going to be doing lots of events in the club this year, starting with modern street defence on the 16th of January."

The club are also selling wristbands and t shirts to be worn at the events and funds raised from this will be donated to Smile for Joel.

People can visit Young Glove's JustGiving page via justgiving.com/fundraising/ygk2020