Peace campaigners, Colin and Wendy Parry celebrate the life of their son Tim Parry on what would have been his 40th birthday
On 20 March 1993, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) detonated bombs without warning on a shopping street in Warrington, Cheshire, UK and 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Johnathan Ball lost their lives. Today, 1st September 2020, is Tim Parry’s 40th birthday and Colin Parry OBE and Wendy Parry OBE will spend time with their children, Dom and Abbi, and their grandchildren, in remembering Tim – their son, brother and uncle, and whilst commemorating his loss, will celebrate the amazing achievements in peace building and conflict resolution that has been achieved in his name.
The Warrington bombing came at a pivotal moment in the peace process on our islands and Tim’s name. alongside Johnathan’s, has become synonymous with the continuing support provided for victims of terrorism and in trying to prevent serious violence. In 1995, Colin and Wendy established a charity, and twenty years ago, opened the international Peace Centre, a living memorial to both boys. A quarter of a century of work for peace has been carried out and Tim’s name is now known by millions as the work continues.
Today, Colin has spoken about his son on behalf of the family:
“They say that the middle child of three is often the ‘odd one out’, being neither first nor last. In our family’s case, this norm may have been true yet again, had Tim, our middle child, not shown himself to be the extrovert, the joker and the one who could gather and harvest friends quicker than anyone I’ve ever known.
“He was also, as was his brother Dominic, an ardent Everton supporter, just like his Dad, his paternal grandad and his paternal great grandad. I took him to try squash when he was old enough to hold a racquet and he had golf lessons with shortened clubs around the same age.
“His other real interest was sailing, having swerved the local Scouts and opted for the Sea Scouts instead. His grandfather, a former Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy, was delighted about this.
“So, Tim’s short life was never empty or quiet for long and his older brother Dom and his sister Abbi, were always there beside him if he got himself into any trouble…apart from on the fateful morning of March 20, 1993.
“True to form, Tim was a man on a mission that morning, going into town to buy a pair of Neville Southall football shorts, because he had saved a penalty for the school football team. Little did he know that his trip was to be futile because the £11 in his pocket was not enough to buy those shorts, but of course, fate dealt him a far worse hand than not getting those shorts.
“Tragically, Tim was standing alongside the bin containing the 2nd IRA bomb, which killed young Johnathan Ball and caused young mother, Bronwen Vickers to lose her leg, along with 56 other people who sustained a variety of injuries.
“Five days after the bomb blast, Wendy and I had the worst decision any parent will ever have to make, when we gave the surgeon at The Walton Centre’s Neurosurgical Unit, permission to switch off Tim’s life support machine.
“The light that always shone from Tim’s eyes., was extinguished that day and there was a void that nothing would, or could, ever fill, though the Peace Foundation and the Peace Centre that we created, has perpetuated Tim’s and Johnathan’s names, and, we hope and pray, will do so long after Wendy and I have gone to, when we hope to join Tim.”
The Peace Foundation stands in memory of two boys so tragically lost and today we reflect on Tim’s loss, but also celebrate his birthday and what has been achieved in his name.
You can find out more about the Peace Foundation work in the prevention, resolution and response to violent conflict at www.peace-foundation.org.uk