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Parents of Mullaghmore schoolboy victim Paul Maxwell say event keeps his memory alive

By Adrian Rutherford

The parents of an Enniskillen schoolboy who died at Mullaghmore say they have drawn comfort from Prince Charles' visit to the village.

Paul Maxwell was on board the Shadow V when it was blown up by the IRA on August 27, 1979.

His father John Maxwell and mother Mary Hornsey attended a service of reconciliation, before meeting with the prince afterwards.

For Mrs Hornsey it was particularly poignant as it marked her first return to Mullaghmore in more than three decades.

Afterwards, she said it had been a positive experience.

"Today meant a great deal to me - it is something that I would not have missed for the world," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I came here and I just didn't know how I was going to handle it. I had a lot of apprehension about it. But, after the service in the church, my goodness, what a change.

"I felt not just forgiveness in the church but warmth and generosity. Extending the hand to others - it was palpable, a marvellous experience."

Mrs Hornsey visited Mullaghmore a fortnight after the bomb attack, and had not returned since.

"I had come back about two weeks after the tragedy," she added.

"I brought some red roses and I walked around to the headland, to where the tragedy had happened, and I threw the roses in the water.

"I said goodbye to my son and to the others who had been murdered there, and I also said goodbye to Mullaghmore. I never thought I would come back, but I did today, and I'm glad for it, and I mean to come back again."

She said yesterday's visit had also stirred many painful memories.

"Of course it does because you see the place where it happened, and it brings it all back," she added.

Mr Maxwell is a frequent visitor to Mullaghmore and still has a holiday cottage in the area.

He hailed the visit as a huge step forward in the Anglo-Irish narrative.

"I think it is tremendously good for British-Irish relations. It wouldn't have happened some years ago. It's a sign of the times and a sign of better times ahead."

John and Mary sat close to the prince and Duchess of Cornwall during the reflective event at St Columba's church at Drumcliffe.

They were also among a group who met with the royal couple after they made the short trip northward to the picturesque harbour village.

Mr Maxwell felt both he and the prince benefited from the pilgrimage.

"In some ways it was difficult because it brings back memories, but on the other hand it helps to keep the memory of Paul alive, which is important," he added.

"I think he (Charles) got something out of it. There was a lot of emotion involved."

Further reading

Charles and Camilla show winning form at race meeting

Prince Charles visit can inspire politicians to move forwards

General Mike Jackson who witnessed Narrow Water aftermath salutes Prince Charle's bravery

Prince Charles asked to meet girl bereaved by Paras on Bloody Sunday

Parents of Mullaghmore schoolboy victim Paul Maxwell say event keeps his memory alive

Prince Charles buries a ghost of his past to lay a milestone on path to peace

Prince Charles: 'Through this dreadful experience, I now understand the agonies borne by so many others in these islands'

  Prince Charles makes poignant pilgrimage to scene of great-uncle Mountbatten's murder

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