Victim’s father marks 30 years since Warrington IRA bombingon March 20, 2023 at 9:57 am

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Colin Parry says spending the last three decades campaigning for peace has kept his family together.

Colin Parry

A father whose 12-year-old son was killed by an IRA bomb 30 years ago has said campaigning for peace is “the glue which has kept the family together”.

Tim Parry and three-year-old Johnathan Ball died and 54 others were hurt when two bombs hidden inside litter bins exploded on 20 March 1993.

The Provisional IRA acknowledged its involvement the following day.

Colin Parry said he and his wife Wendy had “focussed so much on turning something bad into something good”.

They established the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation and it opened in March 2000, on the seventh anniversary of the boys’ deaths.

Mr Parry said: “I don’t need to be a time traveller, I can go back that day, the moment when we heard there’d been a bomb and the moment we were told how badly injured Tim was and everything that flowed from that for the next five days.

“For a while we thought he might live but of course that wasn’t to be.”

Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry

“The appetite for normal life changed because life wasn’t normal any more so we had to channel our energies into something new, and that new is something that’s still there 30 years on and it will go on,” Mr Parry told BBC Breakfast.

“We’ve focussed so much on turning something bad into something good, and I think we’ve done it reasonably well, we’re still here and we have a purpose in life.”

Tim was killed alongside Johnathan when the IRA detonated bombs near a busy shopping centre on the day before Mother’s Day in 1993.

Mr Parry said people in Warrington “remember the sense of utter shock”.

“A town without any military significance shouldn’t have been targeted,” he said.

“Why Warrington? And why a shopping street? Why the day before Mother’s Day? All these strange questions which lead me to the view that it was a cynical, deliberate choice by the IRA to hit a soft target and they must have known that there would be children likely to be injured or possibly killed through those two bombs.”

The River of Life memorial on Bridge Street

Image source, Warrington Council

He added: “They’ve never been caught, we’ll never know who they are, not that it matters any more.

“It matters more to me the positive things that have come along that we carry on doing for as long as we can.”

Mr Parry said his son was “the joker in the pack” who was “different to our other children”.

He said: “He was the one that did the things he shouldn’t have done and got away with it because he was the middle one.

“He was an entertainer and he wanted to do so many things.

“I often wonder what he would have become. I could have seen him in the Royal Navy, maybe he would even have played for Everton, they need him badly enough.”

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