24 Hour Inspire 2016

Today it is three years since Tim Richardson passed away.  Three years ago, his family were grieving and bereft, and all of those who had been lucky enough to be taught by him, to work with him, to count him as a friend, mourned too, and felt our world to be a little greyer, a little less warm without him.

Three years ago we were in the final stages of planning an extraordinary event – a tribute to Tim’s own 24 hour lecture marathon for Children in Need, bringing together speakers from all over the University (and beyond) to present short lectures on a host of subjects, to raise funds for Tim’s new charity, Inspiration for Life.

The event was a wonderful celebration of Tim and everything he stood for.  Since then we’ve continued to build Inspiration for Life, and to raise funds for local cancer charities, award prizes to Physics & Astronomy students who’ve overcome obstacles to achieve academic success, and grants to students with disabilities (via the Snowdon Trust).  We’ve run or cycled many miles, baked cakes and busked, and we’ve held two more 24 Hour Inspires.

Now we’re preparing for our fourth, and the schedule is filling up rapidly.  It’s too early to divulge much about the speakers and topics – but you can expect to hear from engineers, physicists, astronomers, psychologists, biologists, architects, mathematicians, social scientists and medics, as well as from specialists in music, French and English literature, and Biblical studies.  There will, of course, be cakes, and music to keep speakers and audience going throughout the 24 hours.  We’ll be supporting two charities that focus on helping young people with cancer – our new partners, Teenage Cancer Trust, and Impact Young Heroes, with whom we’ve been working for a while now.

Tim wrote a diary, starting on the day he was first told that he probably had cancer.  He hoped it would run to two or more volumes, but we just have the one, which takes us up to the point when he was told that the chemo hadn’t bought him any time after all.  It’s a precious volume – of course it’s heartbreaking, but it’s also funny, irreverent, warm and full of joy in life, love and nature.  It gives such an insight into a situation that we all hope we will never experience directly but also is a reminder that none of us know our destinies.  He ended the diary with these words:

Love is something you only fully appreciate when there is a chance it will end, at least in this world, but there is always that chance for everyone, so please make sure the special people in your life know what you feel for them now – and I mean now.

And so today we remember our friend, colleague and teacher, and we can raise a glass to him and say thanks, and make a promise that we’ll carry on with the work he started. Cheers Tim.


Detailed information about the 2016 24 Hour Inspire will be available here, and via Facebook and Twitter, and on our website.


You can buy copies of Tim’s diary here:


by making a donation (without Gift Aid) of £7.00 per copy plus postage and packaging (£2.80 in the UK, other rates on application) and emailing us (r.n.saddler@sheffield.ac.uk or c.j.annabel@sheffield.ac.uk) with your details. Please use the message facility to confirm your name and the number of copies you require.




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