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Birmingham pub bomb families mark 43 years since attack killed 21 people

By Allan Preston

Families and friends gathered in Birmingham Cathedral last night to mark the 43rd anniversary of the IRA pub bombings that killed 21 and injured 182 others.

At 8.26pm a minute's silence was held to mark the exact moment the first of two bombs detonated.

As part of the memorial events, the 21 people who lost their lives were posthumously given Birmingham's highest civic honour, the Freedom of the City.

Floral tributes were also placed at a plaque bearing the names of those who died.

Julie Hambleton's older sister Maxine was just 18 when she lost her life in the atrocity.

Speaking after the service last night she thanked those who turned out to stand in solidarity with the victims' families.

"For decades our mother always fought, but nobody cared - but you have all helped us to prove to my mother that people do care and your caring and your support gives us the strength to continue to fight and fight we will," she said.

Campaign group Justice4the21 said: "The families would like to express their sincere and heartfelt thanks to Birmingham Cathedral for the beautiful and moving service this evening to remember our loved ones. Your kindness, spirituality and humanity towards us and our loved ones is truly humbling."

Birmingham resident Marina Johnson added: "Nobody who lived or worked in Birmingham that night will ever forget the terror that gripped the city for weeks afterwards.

"Thoughts with all the families and friends of everyone involved on that tragic night."

After the bombings, a botched police investigation led to the wrongful convictions of the Birmingham Six - regarded as one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British legal history.

Earlier this year Justice4the21 raised money to overturn a coroner's ban on naming suspects in a forthcoming series of inquests.

Belfast Telegraph

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