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Twenty years since lives were ripped apart
8:00am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
TWENTY years ago the lives of the Parry family were ripped apart when an IRA bomb exploded on Bridge Street.
The tragic events that day shook the whole of Warrington but Colin and Wendy Parry have worked tirelessly to ensure their 12-year-old son Tim Parry and three-year-old victim Johnathan Ball were never forgotten through the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace.
More recently Tim’s memory also lives on through his nine-month-old nephew Arthur Timothy Parry Fields who shares a similarly cheeky grin to his uncle.
Described as a cheerful, sporty boy, parents Colin, aged 66, and Wendy, aged 55, added kids would be attracted to Tim like a magnet.
The sociable youngster loved playing football, golf and squash, had just started guitar lessons and would often be surrounded by new friends during family camping holidays in France.
Wendy, who is also mum to Dom, aged 34 and Abbi, aged 31, said: “Tim’s form tutor Miss Dutton said if he was naughty she couldn’t tell him off because he would just smile at her.
“He was a bit of a charmer and after he died we had girls coming to the door saying they were Tim’s girlfriend and sometimes they would be quite a bit older than Tim!”
On March 20, 1993 the Great Sankey High School pupil headed for Warrington town centre with two friends to buy a pair of Everton football shorts to emulate his hero Neville Southall.
Wendy added: “Six weeks previously he had his appendix out and was told not to do any sport for six weeks but after three weeks he persuaded me to let him play in goal and said he wouldn’t move a lot.
“He saved a penalty and then he wanted to be Neville Southall and wanted his shorts but it was the day before Mother’s Day so he would have been buying a card too. “ Colin and Wendy were picking up her dad’s old car and knew nothing about the explosion until they arrived home in Great Sankey and saw their neighbours gathered outside.
After phone calls to Tim’s friends discovered one had been hurt the pair rushed to Warrington Hospital but it took hours before they found their son.
Wendy added: “We were told there had not been any 12-year-olds brought in, they said there was a boy who was 16 because Tim looked so much older.
“Colin stayed at the hospital and I went home but there was no sign of him so I went back to the hospital and a priest asked what Tim was wearing.
“Then he asked us to go into a room with him and we knew there was something not right.
“A surgeon came into the room and asked us to identify a watch and a St Christopher’s chain which were Tim’s.
“The surgeon said he had been working on him for a few hours and didn’t think he would last the night.
“That was when the trauma started.”
The couple said they felt numb and went back to their home in Great Sankey where they waited to hear the worst.
After Tim made it through the night, the pair went back to the hospital but said going in to see their son was one of the most terrifying things they had ever done.
Wendy said: “It was one of those takes your breath away times and I was so frightened what I would see. “ Colin added: “I saw his head swathed in bloody bandages and the smell of the bombing was still on him.
“There were lots of black bits in his chest which was shrapnel from the bin and a gap in his bandages for a tube to his life support machine.
“I tried speaking to him even though he clearly couldn’t hear me but you don’t behave rationally you just act without thought and it seemed right to talk with him, to plead with him to fight and come back to us.”
The next four days were spent by Tim’s side at Walton Hospital which specialises in brain injuries.
Colin added: “I never knew the full extent of his injuries until the coroner’s report and had to stop reading it because it was so horrific.
“The injuries were all to his head due to pieces of flying metal at high speed.
“For a few days we thought he would live but brain tests proved there was no activity and we were told it was pointless keeping the machine breathing for him and we had to be realistic and switch it off.”
After a visit from his brother and sister, Tim died in his dad’s arms.
He added: “It was extremely painful holding your son when his chest stops rising and his death was very swift.
“We knew it was going to happen but watching it happen was awful.
“You don’t go back to normal after something like that.
“You exist and go through the basics; eat, sleep, drink, you don’t want to talk.
“All you want to do is cry and break down and try to comprehend what’s happened.”