TWENTY-four years on from the Warrington bombing more than one hundred people gathered to remember the victims and survivors of that tragic day almost a quarter of a century ago.
The annual commemoration service in Warrington town centre was held on the same street where tragedy struck on March 20, 1993.
The explosion on Bridge Street killed three-year-old Johnathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry.
It also led to the death of Bronwen Vickers, injured 54 others and affected many thousands more.
A large crowd gathered at 12.15pm for the service led by the Rev Stephen Kingsnorth alongside the Mayor of Warrington Cllr Faisal Rashid.
Floral tributes - 24 years on
During the service Rev Kingsnorth spoke about the years following the Warrington bombing and how the memory of that day has never faded.
He said: “I remember the first three or four years just coming down here because it was the anniversary.
“There was nothing arranged but we would just find 20 other people who felt the same way.
“We all just stood here, nothing was organised, nothing was said, we just silently stood knowing between each other why we were here.”
Colin Parry, dad of Tim Parry, expressed his gratitude to those who had braved the wind and rain to attend.
He said: “I’m surprised by how many people are here. It’s gratifying to see so many people here – faces I recognise and faces I don’t.
“It’s important for many reasons why people gather here.
“Whether you are here because you were affected by the bombing or have family that was affected by the bombing or whether you are just a person who lives in Warrington who is proud of the town and you are here to show your goodwill to the families.
“I know the Ball family care about this just as much as we do so thank you.
“Next year I hope it will be a bigger occasion.”
Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the tragedy.
Council leader Terry O’Neill, who attended the service, said: “It’s massively important to remember what has happened as unless you understand the past you can’t move forward.
“The Peace Centre and Colin and Wendy Parry have done an excellent job in commemorating this tragedy and making sure something positive grows from what has happened.
“Next year is a big year. Despite the austerity measures we will have to make sure that we commemorate what happened in a respectful way.”
The short ceremony ended with a minute’s reflection and silence and the laying of flowers before water was collected from the River of Life.
This will be used to water the 14-year-old Peace Tree in the Great Sankey centre’s grounds.
Nick Taylor, chief executive of the charitable foundation which was set up in memory of the boys who lost their lives in the Warrington bombing, said: “This event is about remembering and reflecting but also is carried out in a very firm sense of hope for the future that what happened in Warrington never happens again.
“The water carried from Bridge Street to the Peace Centre symbolises the ongoing work for peace and reconciliation and coincides with the beginning of spring and the peace tree blossoming.”
The Foundation’s Survivors Assistance Network supports those people in Britain who may have been affected by terrorism.
Team members will be available during this period to speak to anybody affected by the Warrington bombing who may wish to share their experiences or seek their support.
To find out more about the work of the foundation visit foundation4peace.org.
The service was filmed live on our Facebook page for those that couldn't make it to the town centre today.
To watch it again, click play below.