VIDEO: THE first paramedic to arrive at the scene of the Warrington IRA bombing atrocity 26 years ago was among those who gathered on Bridge Street for a special service of remembrance.
Dave Chadwick, who had already attended the scene of the IRA bomb attack on the town’s gas works on Winwick Road a month earlier and the shooting of PC Mark Toker as he attempted to apprehend the bombers, was on the scene within three minutes of the call, which he initially believed to be a hoax.
But when he arrived at the “silently eerie” scene, he said it looked like a “war zone” with people running in all directions.
The “vivid memories” came flooding back as Dave joined members of the public on Bridge Street, where two IRA bombs placed in litter bins claimed the lives of two innocent young boys out shopping in a packed street the day before Mother’s Day.
“The memories are so vivid it still feels like yesterday,” said Dave, who treated 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Johnathan Ball and Knutsford mother Bronwen Vickers, who later died as a result of her injuries. More than 50 shoppers were also injured.
Following the tragedy peace campaigners Colin and Wendy Parry, supported by Johnathan’s late parents, Wilf and Marie Ball, campaigned for the boys memories to be kept alive by the creation of the Warrington Peace Centre, which is now home to the Foundation for Peace Charity.
Foundation for Peace Chief Executive Nick Taylor opened proceedings. A blessing was given by Afthkar Qayyum, General Secretary of the Warrington Council of Faiths, followed by a minutes silence.
Mayor of Warrington, Cllr Karen Mundry, said: “We will never forget that dark day 26 years ago, and the huge impact it had on everyone in our borough, and beyond.
“Out of the terrible tragedy came a commitment from everyone to work together towards peace. The annual commemorations are about remembering the victims of the bombing, honouring the bravery of families and reaffirming our commitment – and our sense of hope for the future – that what happened in 1993 never happens again.”
Terry O’Hara, who runs the Survivors Assistance Network at the Peace Foundation said the practical and emotional support services offered for people affected by terrorism were now needed more than ever.