Belfast Telegraph

'It is so important to remember these young victims'

Alan Jack was just five months old when a plate glass window shattered after an IRA car bomb exploded in Strabane in 1972.

He is among the youngest victims of the Troubles, and died before his family even had a chance to take his photograph.

Sadly both his parents, Barbara and William, died before they could see his memory preserved in the quilt, called A Patchwork of Innocents, unveiled in Fivemiletown Methodist Church.

His aunt, Mavis Clark, helped unveil the memorial quilt on behalf of all his living relatives.

His uncle, Leslie Jack, recalled the dreadful day they had to lay baby Alan to rest, saying: "I remember it very well, it was one of the most shocking days of our lives. We all took turns to carry the little coffin.

"It stays with you all your life, it never leaves you and it is important that he is remembered.

"The civil rights that people are entitled to is the right to life but Alan's was taken away."

Young James Barker (12) was on a day trip to Omagh in August 1998 when a Real IRA bomb exploded, killing him, 28 others and two unborn babies. His family had moved from England to Buncrana in Co Donegal 11 months previously. His mother Donna-Maria Barker found it hard to return to Northern Ireland, but was persuaded to make the journey for the unveiling of the quilt. She said: "This quilt is unbelievably special to me because I would never have come to this country only for that quilt.

"It has been very emotional but I see James's name there and that is so wonderful.

"I visited Omagh again and as I went down to the Memorial Garden with a bunch of flowers, my heart was breaking.

"As I turned around there were three ladies there and I thought there will always be someone here remembering."

One of the victims commemorated on the quilt is Leanne Murray, who had celebrated her 13th birthday four weeks before an IRA bomb exploded prematurely in Frizzell's fish shop on Shankill Road in October 1993. She was one of nine people who lost their lives along with an IRA bomber. Leanne had been going to the fish shop to buy whelks on the day of the bombing.

Lesley Gordon was aged just 10 when she died after a booby trap bomb attached to the bottom of her father's car by members of the IRA exploded.

Lesley's father William (39), who served in the UDR, died alongside her in the attack outside their family home in Maghera in 1978.

Georgie Gordon, Lesley's mum and William's widow, was one of the four relatives to unveil the patchwork quilt.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph