Silence...as town recalls IRA bombing
- Published 16/03/13 7:00 am
The ceremony will take place between 12 noon and 12.45pm and will include speeches, readings and choir performances.
The main public viewing areas will be at Market Gate where the ceremony will be relayed onto a large screen, and along Bridge Street.
This will be followed by a celebratory event at the Peace Centre from 2-5pm.
Events have been organised by the borough council and the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation.
A number of road closures will be in force during the town centre proceedings.
On Wednesday, residents of Warrington will again be asked to observe a one minute silence - at 12.27pm - the exact time of the bombing on the actual anniversary.
Cllr Mike Hannon, deputy leader of the council, said: "Wednesday will be the actual anniversary and we believe it is important to reach out to the whole borough and beyond and to take time out of our busy lives on this important day to remember, reflect and support each other."
For more information visit www.warrington.gov.uk/newsroom and peace centre website www.foundation4peace.org
Although warrington-worldwide was the first stand-alone daily internet newspaper in mainland Britain when it launched in 1999, it was not around to report the 1993 bombings.
But parent company Orbit News was - and partners David and Gary Skentelbery reported on the terrible events of the day for various regional and national newspapers.
David recalls: "I was at home at Lymm shortly before 1pm when I received a call from the Manchester Evening News who already knew about the bombings and believed two boys to have been killed.
"I could hardly believe it, as it was only a fortnight after the IRA bombing of Warrington Gas Works and I could not believe they would have picked on Warrington again.
"I telephoned Gary, who then lived in Grappenhall, and we separately made our way into Warrington.
"I had to abandon my car at Latchford and walk the rest of the way. When I reached Bridge Foot, Bridge Street was blocked with crowds of people. I interviewed a few people who seemed to know a bit about what had happened and then went along Mersey Street and into Time Square, which was eerily silent and deserted.
"This was before the days of mobile phones and I was desperate to get my copy to the Evening News so I went into Bank Street and out into Market Gate, unaware that the area had been evacuated. I went into one of the phone boxes there and filed copy to the Evening News.
"When I left the kiosk I was grabbed by a police officer who told me I was risking my life being there and he was risking his in warning me. As a result I went down Horsemarket Street to our offices, which were then in Froghall Lane.
"Gary, who had been taking pictures around the town centre, joined me later.
"We spent the rest of the day dealing with calls from national newspapers, radio and television stations and gathering information, mostly by telephone.
"Gradually the terrible news emerged - that one boy was dead and another seriously injured in hospital.
"It was the most tragic day of my journalistic career - and one of the longest.
"Over the years, we reported the ongoing story, including the visit in 2001 by former IRA chief Martin McGuinness when, in a carefully worded speech at the Peace Centre, he made what some regarded as an apology to the families of Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball."
Gary recalled: "It was a day in my life I will never, ever forget. I was setting off to play football with a group of friends and was in my kit when I took the call.
"With the memory of the bomb attacks on the gas works still fresh in mind it was still unbelieveable what I was being told. Surely not another terrorist bomb attack on Warrington!
"I jumped straight into my car and headed into the town centre, still dressed in my football kit. But as I approached the town centre the traffic came to a standstill. I abandoned my car and ran into the town centre - I must have been quite a sight in a green goal keepers top and a pair of black leggings.
"The town centre was deserted - and all I could see in the distance was what appeared to be debris. I was horrified to later learn that what I had seen was actually the body of a young boy, killed outright by the blast."
"Soon after the bombing I got to know the Parry family and Wilf Ball, who was actually a near neighbour in Grappenhall.
"I will never forget the warmth I felt from the Parry family, who have become close friends over the years - and certainly influenced me and my family - with my eldest daughter, who was not even born at the time of the bombing, taking part in one of the Peace Scholarships.
"I do not know how I would react if I lost a loved one in such tragic circumstances and I can only applaud the fantastic work of Colin and Wendy and those around them, in the way they dealt with such an atrocity in a positive and inspirational way.
"I was later given the honour of being made a Patron of the charity."
Pictured: Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball, innocent victims of an atrocity and, a smiling Martin McGuinness shaking hands with the late Wilf Ball (left) and Colin Parry at the Peace Centre.