Family to build school in Nepal in memory of tragic paraglider
PUBLISHED: 13:54 26 March 2013 | UPDATED: 14:08 26 March 2013
The family of a Hampstead Garden Suburb man who died in a paragliding accident in 2011 are travelling to Nepal to build a school for local children in his memory.
Guy Joseph, 25, who grew up living in Edmunds Walk, the Suburb, was killed in a paragliding incident in Spain in October 2011 after unexpectedly separating from the group he was travelling with and crashing into woodland.
Following the tragedy, Mr Joseph’s family set up Guy’s Trust, a charity supporting disadvantaged children around the world and have raised almost £140,000 for the charity in its first year.
On Friday, the family, joined by 28 of their friends and Guy’s friends, will fly to Nepal to begin building the first of three schools for children living in villages in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Mr Joseph’s mother Vicky, 59, who decided to set up a charity in her son’s name, said: “I thought we have to do something – we have to create a memorial of some kind. Guy loved kids, he was fantastic with kids so this charity was a kind of obvious thing to do.
“These children in Nepal don’t go to school – this is offering them something that they did not have before.”
Mrs Joseph and her husband Tony, 68, who live in Southern Road, East Finchley, will be joined by their two daughters Lauren, 32, and Alex, 31, during the trip to Nepal.
Alex, who is flying from her home in New York City especially for the trip, will also be running the London Marathon in memory of her brother next month.
“My daughters’ grief is often more painful [than my own],” said Mrs Joseph. “The worse thing has happened to my daughters – they’ve lost their brother who they adored – and I’m seeing them suffering and there’s nothing I can do about it.
“It’s such a tragic loss, Guy was so popular and he inspired people. I think he inspired people without knowing it.
“It’s such a terrible waste - we will never know what he might have achieved and it makes you realise that your life is a tightrope and in a few seconds, bang, it can be gone.”
Mrs Joseph said running the charity had been a “fantastic distraction” and was “very therapeutic,” adding: “It’s times when I’m not busy that I start thinking about how sad it all is, when I’m busy and occupied I don’t have time to think.”
The group travelling to Nepal will spend a week building the foundations of the first school for local villagers to complete, they will also visit the sites reserved for the next two schools.
With the money so far raised, the charity has committed to building two schools housing 150 children each, as well as providing teacher training, food and uniforms.
Mrs Joseph said there had been an “extraordinary outpouring of support” from Guy’s friends, who had organised all of the charity’s fundraising events to date.
“I think Guy would be incredibly proud and astonished that so many people cared so much about him,” she said. “I don’t think any of us tend to know just how much we are loved.”
For more information or to donate to Guy’s Trust, visit www.guystrust.org. Alternatively, you can donate a maximum of £10 to the charity by texting “guys10” followed by the amount (for example, “£5”) to 70070.