Sunday, 27 May 2007

UK Blog Post 3: 1993 the year which shook the town

The Warrington bomb attacks took place in Warrington, England in 1993. The first attack, on a gasworks, created a huge fireball but no casualties (however a police officer was shot and injured after stopping a van), but the second attack on Bridge Street killed two children and injured many other people. The attacks were conducted by the Provisional IRA.

The first attack took place on 26 February 1993. Three devices exploded (and unignited incendiary made safe) at the gasworks causing extensive damage.

At 11:58am on the day before Mother's Day, (20 March 1993), the telephone help charity The Samaritans received a coded message that a bomb was going to be detonated outside the Boots shop in Liverpool, fifteen miles away from Warrington. Merseyside Police investigated, and also warned the Cheshire Constabulary (who patrolled Warrington) of the threat, but it was too late to evacuate. At 12:12pm two bombs exploded, one outside Boots on Bridge Street and one outside the Argos catalogue store. It later turned out that the bombs had been placed inside cast-iron litter bins, causing large amounts of shrapnel.

Buses were organised to ferry people away from the scene and 20 paramedics and crews from 17 ambulances were sent to deal with the aftermath.

Eyewitnesses of the time said that "the first explosion drove panicking shoppers into the path of the next blast just seconds later."

There were two fatalities from the blast. A 3 year-old boy named Johnathan Ball died at the scene whilst buying a Mother's Day card, accompanied by his babysitter. A 12-year-old boy, Tim Parry who was sitting on the bin at the time, took the full force of the blast. Five days later he died of his injuries.

There are two obvious reminders in the town of what happened. A sculpture and special street paving called 'The River of Life'
Inspiration for the River of Life came from the powerful description of waters and the leaves of the trees - for the healing of the nations - described in the biblical book of Revelation. Symbols of brokeness, healing, new life and the passage of time can be seen and discovered throughout this unique artwork.

And the Peace centre
The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace As the name suggests, we are an educational peace charity. We inspire people to lead more peaceful lives by participating in our educational programmes. This enables them to better understand conflict and by doing so to reduce or eliminate violence from conflict situations affecting them.

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