The father of a boy killed by an IRA bomb attack in Warrington 25 years ago has said the memories of that terrible day are still fresh in his mind.
Colin Parry’s 12-year-old son Tim was one of two children killed in the atrocity on March 20, 1993.
Three year-old Johnathan Ball also lost his life and over 50 others were injured when IRA terrorists detonated two bombs hidden in litter bins.
No one has ever been brought to justice for the attack.
Today, a quarter of a century later, Warrington town centre will fall silent to mark the events of that horrific day.
There will be speeches, choir performances, readings and a minute’s silence as crowds gather at Bridge Street, where the bombs exploded.
Speaking to the News Letter yesterday, Mr Parry said the day of the bombing remains etched in his memory.
“It is all still very clear in my mind; I can recall that awful day with almost 100% accuracy,” he said.
Tim, an avid-Everton fan, had been shopping for football shorts when the bomb exploded. He died five days later in hospital.
Devastated by their loss, Mr Parry and his wife Wendy were determined to ensure that something good came out of the evil actions perpetrated by the IRA.
In the wake of their son’s death, they became committed peace campaigners, setting up and operating a charitable reconciliation centre in Warrington – The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace.
Since May last year, the charity has helped hundreds of victims of the Manchester Arena bombing and the London attacks.
Mr Parry added: “I think we have achieved a great deal through the foundation. We are now the leading agency in Britain for providing support to victims of terrorism.”
Mr Parry said he will never forgive the IRA for killing his son, but added that he has never harboured anger towards those who carried out the bombings.
He told the News Letter: “I have never been angry about what happened. We were far too broken-hearted at the time to have any feelings of anger.
“We have always taken the view that we can do nothing to change to past but we can focus on making a better future.”
In 2013, Mr Parry invited former IRA commander Martin McGuinness to deliver the annual peace lecture in Warrington.
The former first minister died on March 21, 2017, and while Mr Parry said he can never forgive the republican leader, he “respected that he turned his back on violence”.
Mr Parry told the News Letter: “I have said many times before that Martin McGuinness and I learned to get along together well and to be able to talk as adults in a grown-up fashion.
“I recognise the risks he took with his community by developing a working relationship with Ian Paisley. Without him taking those risks I don’t think there would be a Good Friday Agreement.”
Mr Parry said today’s commemoration events will be “painful and difficult”, but added: “It is about marking the occasion with respect and recognising that something good was able to come from something evil.”
A minute’s silence will be observed in Warrington at 12.27pm today, the exact time of the bombing.