IT was a day Warrington residents will never forget. 

Here's what happened when two bombs exploded in the town centre and the events leading up to the attack.

Friday, February 26, 1993 
The first IRA attack on Warrington at Winwick Road gas works.
Police constable Mark Toker stop-checked three men in a white Mazda van in Sankey Street shortly after midnight. 

The 25-year-old was shot three times in the leg and back.

The married father-of-one from Wigan was taken to Warrington Hospital for emergency treatment and a police dragnet was launched.

The gang commandeered a white Ford Escort and imprisoned driver Lee Wright in the boot around 12.50am.
They set off for Manchester, the gunman firing at pursuing police cars.

Mr Wright attempted to immobilise his own car, pulling a petrol gauge indicator wire.

The gang pulled up on the M62 around 1.50am, perhaps believing they were out of petrol. The men fled up an embankment. 

A police dog cornered the gunman and another man was arrested but the third man escaped.

Three devices exploded at the Winwick Road gasworks at 4.10am, destroying a gasometer, which caused a 1,000ft high fireball.

The bombs failed to destroy five million cubic feet of gas in surrounding tanks and a major disaster was averted.

Nearby residents were evacuated and took shelter at St Ann’s Primary School.

Pairic MacFhloinn, aged 40, and Denis Kinsella, aged 25, were later jailed for 35 years and 25 years respectively for their part in the bombing mission and John Kinsella, aged 49, was sentenced to 20 years for possessing Semtex explosives that he hid for the IRA cell.

The third man in the car, Michael Timmins, was never caught.

Saturday, March 20, 1993

The Samaritans received a coded warning at 11.58am about a bomb outside a Boots chemist shop in Liverpool, 16 miles from Warrington.

Merseyside Police responded to the warning and informed Cheshire Police but there was no time to evacuate Warrington town centre.

Two bombs, hidden in separate cast-iron litter bins, exploded on Bridge Street just after 12.25pm, the first outside a British Gas showroom and the second near Argos and Boots.

The first explosion drove panicking shoppers into the path of the next blast just seconds later, with police describing the bins and shrapnel as ‘huge hand grenades’.

Buses were organised to ferry people away from the scene and 20 paramedics, some on motorcycles, were sent to administer on the spot treatment.

Crews from 17 ambulances dealt with casualties and a team of four plastic surgeons travelled to Warrington Hospital from the regional burns unit at Whiston Hospital, Knowsley.

Johnathan Ball, who was in town with his babysitter buying a Mother's Day Card, was killed at the scene.

Tim Parry was caught in the full force of the blast and died five days later in hospital.

56 other people were injured, including Bronwen Vickers, aged 33. 

Senior police said they believed the later attack was a reprisal for the police's success after the gasworks blast

Nobody has been brought to justice for the second Warrington bombing.

Warrington Guardian:

November 1996

The River of Life memorial artwork is opened on Bridge Street.

The memorial to the victims was opened by the Duchess of Kent April 1998 Backed by former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam, a fundraising campaign is launched to build the town's Peace Centre. The campaign was launched at a special service to mark the fifth anniversary of the attacks on the town.

Warrington Guardian:

March 20, 2000

Following years of campaigning, the town's Peace Centre opens in Great Sankey. A festival was held to mark the occasion.

Warrington Guardian:

July 2000

The National Lottery invests £250,000 in the centre, the biggest at the time, to help launch a new project at the Peace Centre. The funding for over three years was to help identify Britain-based victims and survivor and pinpoint their individual needs.

December 2001

IRA chief Martin McGuinness apologised to the families of the children killed in the bomb attack. A landmark meeting finally took place between Mr McGuinness and the families of Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball

July 2004

Wilf Ball, the father of Johnathan Ball, dies aged 71.

Found at his home in Grappenhall he had visited Johnathan's grave almost everyday before his death

Warrington Guardian:

March 2009

Johnathan's mum Marie Comerford died suddenly aged 53.

The coroner ruled she had died of a broken heart.

She moved from Warrington to Wales after the bombing but had returned to the town in later life.

Warrington Guardian:

January 2018

The Warrington Guardian announces it has selected the Foundation for Peace as its charity of the year to mark the 25th anniversary of the Warrington bombing.

March 20, 2018

A commemoration service will be held on Bridge Street to remember the two young boys killed and the many more injured.

Princess Anne is set to attend the memorial event.

Many people from across the town will be taking part in the Colours for Peace Day to pay their respects.