Terror victims mark 25 years since IRA attack on Manchester

Afzal Khan MP, victim Neil Tattersall and victims campaigner Kenny Donaldson in Manchester to mark the 25th anniversary of the IRA bombing of the city
Afzal Khan MP, victim Neil Tattersall and victims campaigner Kenny Donaldson in Manchester to mark the 25th anniversary of the IRA bombing of the city

Terror victims from across the UK have converged on Manchester to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1992 IRA bomb attack on the city.

Entitled ‘A city united in its rejection of terrorism,’ a church service took place in Manchester city centre on Sunday to mark 25 years since the IRA bomb attack which injured 65 people.

The event also marked the official launch of South East Fermanagh Foundation’s (SEFF) GB Support Service for Victims and Survivors.

The Northern Ireland group has found many victims of Troubles terrorism in Great Britain are suffering ongoing issues such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with little or no support.

Victims of the ISIS-inspired bomb attack in the city on May 22 this year, which killed 22 and injured 512, were also invited to Sunday’s service.

The venue was St Ann’s Parish Church, only 400 yards away from the scene of the May atrocity. Manchester MP Afzal Khan gave a welcome address to all who attended.

Lynda Van Culenberg was just one of the many people who travelled to Manchester to take part.

“The reason I was attending was because my father was murdered at Oxford Street bus station in Belfast on Bloody Friday,” she told the News Letter.

The IRA exploded 19 bombs across Belfast in just over an hour on July 21 1972, killing nine people and injuring 130.

Lynda’s father, Jackie Gibson, was only 44.

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Originally from Belfast, she moved to London after getting married.

“We have all been forgotten,” she said.

She became aware of SEFF through a work colleague in London. Now she is a volunteer administrator with the group’s GB advocacy worker, Yasmin Wright, whom she went to Manchester with to support.

“I was only 15 the day my father was killed. The impact was enormous.

“I am 60-years-old this year, but I am claustrophobic and I would panic.

“If I go anywhere I have to be near the exit. I am sure it all stems from that [the murder of her father].”

SEFF has been an “enormous” support to her.

“They are just amazing and some of the kindest people you could meet.

“I met other members who had been through the Manchester and Birmingham bombs.

“It is quite nice to speak to people who have been through the same thing as you. It is also nice to show victims in England that not everybody from Northern Ireland is like the IRA.”

Kenny Donaldson, SEFF’s director of services, said the 1992 Manchester bomb has been largely eclipsed by the larger bomb four years later in 1996, but that some of the 65 people injured in the earlier attack suffered “very serious and life-changing injuries”.

“It is important that the forgotten bomb and its legacy is remembered,” Mr Donaldson added.

As well as an advocacy support service, the new GB service will soon include a health and wellbeing caseworker support service.

Services will include counselling, complementary therapies, physiotherapy, welfare and respite support.

• GB-based terror victims can contact London support worker Yasmin Wright on 028 6772 3884.

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