‘It was important to go and show solidarity’

John Radley and his wife Patricia.
John Radley and his wife Patricia.

A former Irish Guards soldier who was forced out of the Army by injuries from an IRA bomb attended yesterday’s service “to show solidarity and support” with other terror victims.

John Radley was caught up in the IRA bomb attack at Chelsea Barracks in 1981 in London.

The commemoration service marking the 1992 IRA bombing in Manchester was an opportunity for victims to come together “in the spirit of hope and healing”.

Hundreds of people gathered for a service in St Ann’s Parish Church to commemorate 25 years since the IRA bomb attack which injured 65 people.

The venue is only 400 yards away from the scene of the IS atrocity in May this year.

He still suffers from extensive serious injuries to his eye, face, jaw, eardrum, neck, back and fingers as well as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“One minute I am laughing and fine and the next minute it is like a crushing feeling,” he said.

“I have to go and lie down in a dark room or I will pull everyone around me down.”

He lost his career, home and health due to the attack.

The Army assessed him as 100% disabled and he was discharged.

“The government and MoD washed their hands of us. If not for the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) I would not have any support at all.

“They are fully inclusive. Anything they organise in Great Britain or Northern Ireland I get invited to.

“And they have provided me with a purpose and a focus. I have now started my own little business.”

Mr Radley’s aim is to train up terror survivors as qualified security guards and plough profits back into SEFF.

He went to Manchester “to show support for all the people in the city,” he said. “It is important for people to know they are not alone on this journey.”

Canon Nigel Ashworth, who led the service, told the News Letter: “Around 250 people came together from Northern Ireland and Great Britain to remember the events of that day 25 years ago.

“Unfortunately the 1992 bomb has been overlooked as a result of the much larger bombing in 1996, which caused much more visible damage to property.

“This seems unkind because, as I reminded people at the service, what really matters is the damage which has been caused to people, both physically and mentally. That should never be forgotten.

“There are people living with the impact of this bomb every day; they will never be able to forget that day.”

People from across the UK who have been affected by IRA violence attended yesterday’s commemoration service, which Canon Ashworth described as being “full of a range of emotions”.

Highlighting that yesterday’s service coincided with Advent Sunday – the start of the Church year – he added: “It was a chance for people to look ahead to the future. It allowed them to come together in solidarity and in the spirit of hope and healing.”