Warrington bomb 20th anniversary minute's silence

Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry
Image caption Johnathan Ball, three, and Tim Parry, 12, died after the IRA bombing

A minute's silence has been observed in Warrington to mark the 20th anniversary of the IRA bomb attack in which two boys died.

Johnathan Ball, three, and Tim Parry, 12, died and 54 others were hurt when two bombs hidden in litter bins went off in Bridge Street on 20 March 1993.

Bronwen Vickers, 33, lost a leg and died a year later.

Council leaders stood at the site to mark the silence at 12:27 GMT - the time the bombs went off.

People were asked to mark the minute's silence wherever they were at the time.

'Hand of friendship'

Tim Parry's parents Colin and Wendy addressed the Northern Ireland Assembly on Tuesday to "reach out our hand of friendship".

The couple has spent the last two decades campaigning for peace and established a Foundation for Peace in the names of the two victims.

Image caption People observed a minute's silence in Warrington town centre

"The charity has been our sanity," said Mr Parry.

He added: "We offer stuff for young people of all ages focussing on how they lead non-violent lives and deal with conflict in a peaceful way.

"We help victims of terrorism who have either suffered personally or their families have and have felt lonely and isolated in their lives."

Mr Parry said to some extent he was "relieved that nobody has ever been convicted" for the bombing.

"It might introduce a whole range of emotions we're not able to process," he said. "It was simply the IRA who killed Tim."

'Remember and reflect'

Council deputy leader Mike Hannon said: "Wednesday 20 March is the actual anniversary of the bombing and I personally feel it is right that we all take a quiet moment to remember and reflect.

"I hope many people in Warrington and beyond will observe this silence wherever they are and whatever they are doing.

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Media captionColin Parry: "We've kept Tim and Jonathan alive...by looking to the future and not the past"

"Marking this important anniversary will be an emotional experience for so many of us and as we continue to support each other and stay united as a town, as we have done over the past 20 years, it is important to the council that people have access to the right support."

Hundreds of people attended a civic service at the scene on Saturday, during which Tim Parry's mother Wendy released 20 doves into the sky and 20 balloons were released by the Ball family.

An exhibition about the bombing is on display at the Pyramid Arts Centre until 18 April.

A 24-hour helpline has been set up to support people affected by the anniversary.

The helpline will be manned by charity Mental Health Matters 24 hours a day until 25 March on 0800 0851720.

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