ALMOST 25 years ago the grieving dad of Tim Parry called for a ‘new sense of hope’ as mourners gathered at the funeral of his 12-year-old son.

Colin and his wife Wendy’s lives were ripped apart when two IRA bombs exploded in the town centre on March 20, 1993, killing the schoolboy and three-year-old Johnathan Ball.

The tragic events that unfolded almost a quarter of a century ago shook the whole of Warrington.

Speaking at Tim’s funeral, Colin, now 71, shared his hopes for the future as he tried to come terms with the devastating attack that left many more injured.

“If my son becomes a symbol for peace and gives everyone a new sense of hope after so much tragedy, then that will be Tim’s unique achievement,” Colin told the mourners.

Little did the family know the lasting legacy the 12-year-old would leave behind.

“Twenty-five years has gone by so quickly,” said Wendy, 60.

“It feels a long time since we have seen Tim but he is still a part of our family.

“All our grandchildren talk about uncle Tim even though they have never met him.

“I think that is because Dominic, Abbi, Colin and I still talk about him. We still toast him at family occasions.

“It’s nice that the whole family still talk and think about him but we would sooner have him here.

“When Tim was killed we couldn’t find any help at all so when we set up the charity and moved into the Peace Centre I said to Colin I wanted to have a programme that helps victims.

“Our team have been working with so many young people who were affected by what happened at the Manchester Arena.

“They provide brilliant support that Dominic and Abbi never got and that would have helped them so much.”

After the bombing, Colin and Wendy Parry were taken by the BBC’s Panorama programme to Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the USA.

During their visit they saw some of the work going on to create peace.

The couple came back inspired to try to make sure no-one would have to experience what they went through.

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace, which is our 2018 charity of the year, was established in the name and memory of the two young boys.

It has since become the leading UK provider of support to victims of terrorism and to young people and communities whose lives have been affected by extremism and conflict.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Warrington bombing in March, the foundation, based in Great Sankey, is launching a Unique Achievement campaign with the support of the Warrington Guardian.

The aim is to raise awareness of the life-changing work of the foundation and the support that can be provided to those in need while remembering Tim and Johnathan and the many more that were affected.

The team also hope to raise £150,000 to enable the charity to continue its work in 2019.

“It’s so hard to think that 25 years have passed since the Warrington bombing, and even harder to think that it has been so long since we have spoken to, or held our son Tim,” said Wendy.

“On Tuesday, March 20, there will be a commemorative service in Warrington town centre to remember Tim, Johnathan and the many other victims who were injured or affected by that terrible day.

"We are also asking companies, schools and individuals to join our Colours for Peace fundraising event which takes place on the same day.

“This will take the form of a dress-down day when we ask that you wear the foundation’s colours of blue, green or white, or all three, and donate £1 to the foundation.

“Make this your way of supporting the foundation but also your way of remembering two young boys who had so much to live for.”

For more information email Kate Deakin, the foundation’s relationship manager, on kate.deakin@foundation or call 581210.

THE Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace has been named as the Warrington Guardian’s charity of the year ahead of the 25th anniversary of the IRA attack in March.

Over the next 12 months we will go behind the scenes to show the vital work of the foundation and those who have dedicated their lives to bringing about change in a series of features published throughout the year.

From the staff who have helped victims to overcome trauma and learn to cope with the grief to the heart-breaking journey of two parents who have vowed to help and support others after coming to terms with the tragic death of their son.

The work of the foundation brings staff into contact with a range of people from young people susceptible to extremism, veterans of conflict and their families as well as survivors and witnesses to acts of terrorism and violent conflict.

We will be telling the stories of those who have been supported by the charity.  We also want to hear from readers who were affected by the Warrington bombing and their memories of that fateful day.

Email or call 596313.