THE father of a 12-year-boy killed in the Warrington bombing has spoken of his efforts to ensure his memory lives on two decades from the attack.
Colin Parry, who lived in Wigan for around 12 years and whose three young children attended Winstanley Primary School, says the passing of 20 years has done nothing to dim his memories of the day his son Tim and three-year-old Johnathan Ball were killed by two devices planted by the Provisional IRA.
Since then Colin has established the Foundation for Peace in Warrington to work for reconciliation between groups who are in conflict, starting with young people from across the borders of Ireland and now working extensively with white and Asian communities.
With a huge amount of progress having been made in improving relations between Britain and Ireland since the 1993 attack, Colin says the work of the centre in laying the grounds for peace in Northern Ireland is a way of coming to terms with the family’s loss of Tim.
Colin, 66, said: “I could probably still run through the day minute by minute as it unfolded. It was a total tragedy, utterly expected.
“Never in your wildest imaginings could you consider the loss of your child, and it was completely shattering. It seems as though the bombing as an event was 20 yars ago, but it feels more than like 200 years since I saw Tim enjoying his life and showing a lot of promise.
“Tim would have been 32 this year, and the fact we don’t have him never goes away. However, we’ve done an enormous amount of work and have a fantastic charity, and it keeps the names and faces of both boys out there and shows their lives counted for something.”
With the improving political situation in Northern Ireland, despite ongoing ourbreaks of violence, Colin says the foundation’s work is now mainly concentrated on bringing disaffected young people of all races back into the folds of society.
However, he says he remains worried that among younger people the lessons of history are not being passed on.
He said: “The biggest worry we face is both from young white people holding very racial views and from Islamists being manipulated into having no sense of belonging to British society even if they were born here.
“When I go into schools now some youngsters don’t even know who the IRA was. That worries me, because young people should have a sense of modern history and the real lives affected.”
The 20th anniversary of the bombing is on March 16, with civic ceremonies in the town centre and an open afternoon at the Foundation for Peace.