Community raises £3,000 to support Imed's sons
DONATIONS to support the teenage sons of tragic Imed Boudhina have reached £3,000 just days after his funeral.
Imed's former wife Louise Carter told the Herald of the community's "amazing generosity" – much of it from people the family didn't even know.
Imed was laid to rest at a mosque in Worcester last Friday, two days before his 47th birthday. He died last month after people from Alcester and beyond joined a police search when he went missing.
More than £3,000 has been donated to a fund which initially hoped to raise £1,000 to help support Imed's sons Kaled, 14, and Sami,13.
Speaking exclusively to the Herald the day after Imed's funeral, the boys' mother Louise said they took great comfort from the kind words and messages of support that have been posted on social media. Money raised from the donations will be used to support Kaled and Sami through their teenage years.
On Sunday – Imed's 47th birthday – Louise, the boys, her mother Kazia and stepdad Tony planted pansies on his grave just two days after a funeral service which Louise described as "moving and very beautiful".
From her parents' home in Evesham, Louise said everyone from members of the Muslim community to a consular official from the Tunisian embassy had been a source of support and comfort.
She added: "There were Muslim people at the funeral service who travelled from near and far. Some knew Imed and some didn't but they were there to pray for him and they made us feel totally welcome and organised so many things for the service.
"Imed would shed light on your day – he was a larger than life character and you could always see him with his big smile coming towards you. He just made everyone feel so special.
"He really loved Britain. He thought it was a society that takes care of itself and when he did go back to Tunisia he said he couldn't wait to come back here."
She reflected on happy times the family shared together, including trips to Old Trafford, home of Manchester United Football Club – a passion of Imed's which he passed on to his sons.
"Imed was so proud of his British citizenship," Louise said. "He was a fighter and a winner, very sporting and very fit. He loved cycling and surfing, especially in Cornwall – he was a big part of everyone's life."
Imed's sudden death shocked the communities of Alcester and Stratford, where Imed worked and lived at various times. Now Louise has urged people who are struggling to speak up because help is available.
She added that everything was "extremely raw at the moment" and that she and the boys had been up most of the night after the funeral. "Nightime is the worst time, and the darkness it brings with it. We are coping in different ways."
Louise praised the support she had received from the Muslim charity Al-Fath Trust and from friend Nicola Kadem, who organised much of the funeral service: "Nicola took me by the hand and did everything."
The crowdfunding donation page was set up by Flair Gougoulia, owner of El Greco Greek restaurant in Rother Street, Stratford, where Imed was a manager. Flair said: "The amazing generosity of people is overwhelming. Some people never knew Imed but still want to give. There's been lovely messages too, which will bring comfort and hope."
To donate, visit: https://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/imedelgreco.