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Lack of funds could close Warrington peace centre

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Colin and Wendy Parry, parents of Tim Parry, one of two children to die in the blast

Colin and Wendy Parry, parents of Tim Parry, one of two children to die in the blast

Colin and Wendy Parry, parents of Tim Parry, one of two children to die in the blast

A reace foundation set up in memory of two young boys killed by an IRA bomb in Warrington nearly 30 years ago fears it could close amid uncertainty over funding.

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation promotes peace and non-violent conflict resolution, but is now battling to keep its doors open.

It was founded by Colin and Wendy Parry in 2000 after the deaths of their 12-year-old son Tim and three-year-old Johnathan Ball on March 20, 1993.

Two bombs had been planted inside litter bins outside shops and businesses by the Provisional IRA on Bridge Street in the English town.

Johnathan died at the scene and Tim passed away five days later. Fifty-four other people were injured in the blasts.

Funding for the peace charity, which supports 1,500 people affected by acts of terrorism, is in place until March 31 and Mr Parry admitted that he “can’t rule out” its closure.

He explained that in mid-2019 the foundation’s two major Government funders - the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice - indicated they would not continue.

“In effect they were localising funding, so monies we previously had from central Government, we would have to seek from local authorities which, as you can imagine with the number of local authorities in England and Wales, left us with a major problem,” he said.

Mr and Mrs Parry asked Warrington South MP Andy Carter to raise the issue with Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions earlier this month.

The Prime Minister responded by saying that the Government will do “everything we can”.

The couple have since written directly to Mr Johnson to ask him to secure the work of the foundation. They have yet to receive a response.

“We realise the Government is massively focused on Covid-19,” continued Mr Parry. “We keep our fingers crossed that there might still be a God up there that’s looking after us.”

Friday marked the 27th anniversary of the Warrington bombing, but the annual commemoration was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We went to the cemetery and our children went separately and we laid flowers,” said Mr Parry. “We saw our family over the weekend - two metres apart - but apart from that it was low key for the reasons we all know.”

Belfast Telegraph