2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the two IRA bomb attacks in Warrington.
On the 26th February 1993, the IRA attempted to blow up gas holders in Winwick Road. On 20th March 1993, the IRA exploded two bombs in Bridge Street which killed 3-year-old Johnathan Ball and left 12-year-old Tim Parry to die five days later from the horrendous wounds he suffered. 54 other people were injured including Bronwyn Vickers who lost a leg in the blast and died a year later.
Looking back to 1993 we see the genesis of the peace process we now enjoy in Northern Ireland. The tragic events in Warrington played a significant part in getting that process underway. The positive response to their tragedy from Colin and Wendy Parry rightly deserves our recognition and gratitude.
To their credit, Wendy and Colin wanted to create something positive out of their grief to honour the memory of Tim and Johnathan which is exactly what they have done with the creation of The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation. It is truly commendable that his parents wanted to use Tim’s memory as a driving force for peace.
The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation is a vibrant educational charity that works with victims and survivors of violence. It provides children and adults from Britain, Ireland and beyond, with a range of learning programmes on the theme of non-violent conflict resolution.
The charity inspires people to lead more peaceful lives by participating in educational programmes which help them to understand conflict and reduce or eliminate violence. It reaches young people who are on the fringes of society, excluded or at risk of social exclusion and helps them to re-engage in learning and social opportunities. And it tackles grass-roots problems in communities such as racial tension and violence borne out of inter-community prejudice.
As we remember the past and look to the future we must use this anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on the horrific acts and to recognise that whilst great steps have been made towards peace in many areas, we should look to the future and redouble our efforts for peace at home and abroad.
First published by Faisal Rashid in the Warrington Guardian