About Joseph

A keen athlete and competitor

Joseph Harris was a Trustee and, as an avid supporter was one of the first to support the Trust in 2013, when he donated £100 prize-money from his school’s version of the Apprentice to the Charity. The following year he raised more funds from his completion of a Half Ironman with his Mother, Miranda. He had planned to train for the full Ironman, when he returned from his international travels in June 2018, and raise further funds for the Trust through this event.

Joseph was a fine athlete, competing in sport from a young age and representing his school at rugby and triathlon. He took part in the Great Britain World Age Group Triathlon Under 20’s in 2013, and was awarded the Victor Ludorum in his final year at school for his contribution to sport as a competitor, captain and coach. His greatest asset was his ability to encourage others, irrespective of their ability or age, which was further evident during his time as Mixed Lacrosse Captain at the University of Warwick in 2015/6.

Joseph had a heart of compassion for suffering people and planned to follow a career in some area of the medical profession. He had a particular interest in epilepsy, which was explored during his Extended Project Qualification, “The ways in which epilepsy is associated with certain neuroses and psychoses in primary healthcare”, and his MA Dissertation, “Was epilepsy a natural or supernatural phenomenon for the ancients?”

Joseph was tragically killed in November 2017, at the age of 21 whilst undertaking humanitarian work in South Africa. Since his death over £60,000 has been raised for the Trust in honour of his memory and in recognition of a young man who loved others, who loved the thrill of a race, and who would have loved to see any donations going towards the Trust.

“Joy Delights in Joy” – Joseph Harris Memorial Celebration 29th June 2018

An invitation entitled ‘Joy Delights in Joy’, to celebrate the life of Joseph Harris took place at his former school King Edward V1, at Stratford on Avon on June 29th 2018, hosted, designed and organised to include a wealth of tributes and memories inspired and marked by the great range of Joseph’s interests, activities and achievements and illuminated by his radiant personality.

Georgina Szanto, Joseph’s sister, speaking at the Memorial

Inevitably, it was a poignant occasion and there were moments of great sorrow, as the ineluctable tragedy of his loss was brought into focus and many tears were shed.

The overall tenor of the programme however, was underpinned by the joy and gratitude felt by each contributor at having been part of Joseph’s life and the legacy of its impact.

Each phase of this productive existence was illustrated by family members, friends, teachers or colleagues in words, song, film or drama, examples coming from early on, when already connections were readily made and foundations laid for lasting friendships.

Schooldays were described by several teachers, who remarked on his positive and active participation in an eclectic range of activities and the open, flexible and enquiring nature of his studies.

Mention was inevitably made of his great popularity, based on an innate sense of justice and inclusivity and the grace and modesty that accompanied his high achievements and acclaim in many arenas, among them the Victor Ludorum award in his final year at K.E.S.

Fond memories of his University days came to light, some in ‘dramatic’ and highly entertaining form, apt illustrations of the unfailing good humour and sense of fun that informed Joseph’s nature and which, with ‘that winning smile’ endeared him and brought light into the lives of so many people.

Guy Harris, Joseph’s brother, speaking at the Memorial

Another vital thread running through the fabric of his life referred to in many of the tributes, was his concern and care for the welfare and well-being of others, which manifested itself in familial, social, communal and professional areas.

Significantly in this context, it was noted that from the earliest ‘Work Experience’ placements, he chose a medical or social environment and from each of these, be it GP practice, hospital ward, therapeutic community, hospice or care home there came reports extolling his enthusiastic and sustained commitment and contribution, making him a much respected and well-liked member of every team.

All in all, the sensitive choice of contributions and smooth organisation by members of Joseph’s much loved and valued school granted due honour to his memory and afforded the grateful gathering on this momentous occasion, a vivid evocation and living impact of his joyous spirit.

Susanna Beer, Trustee