A MINUTE'S SILENCE has been observed in Warrington to mark the 25th anniversary of the IRA bombing which killed two young boys.
Johnathan Ball, 3, and Tim Parry, 12, died and over 50 people were injured when two bombs hidden inside litter bins exploded at 12.27pm on March 20, 1993.
The town centre was packed with children buying cards and gifts for their mums at the time, as the bombs went off a day prior to Mother's Day.
The Provisional IRA claimed responsibility for the atrocity amidst a public outry both in Britain and Ireland.
A special service was held this afternoon at the site of the bombing on Bridge Street, and was attended by relatives of the victims, faith leaders and representatives of the British and Irish governments.
At 12.27pm we will be observing a minute's silence in memory of all those involved in the Warrington bombings 25 years ago today. - https://t.co/51AmL4QgHW pic.twitter.com/soR44YBFRt
— Cheshire Fire (@CheshireFire) March 20, 2018
Anne, Princess Royal, was amongst those who laid wreaths and observed a silence at 12.27pm - exactly a quarter of a century on from the blasts.
Colin Parry, father of Tim, said March 20, 1993 was "a day in my life I will never forget".
He explained how his son "died in my arms" five days after he was injured in the attack, while out buying a card for his mum, Wendy.
"I'm mostly all cried out," said Mr Parry. "There are occasions when a piece of music catches you unawares".
After the bombing, Tim's parents set up a charity in the names of both their son and tragic toddler Johnathan Ball.
Foundation For Peace has worked to spread the message or reconciliation and hope rather than violence in the 25 years since.
Detective Superintendent Geraint Jones was on duty 25 years ago today when two bombs went off in #Warrington town centre: pic.twitter.com/ReLWFNz6lE
— Key 103 News (@KEY103NEWS) March 20, 2018
Former Det Supt Les Lee, who led the subsequent investigation, said: "Professionally, it was one of the saddest things in my life.
"The first thing I saw was the remains of a cast iron bin. There were broken windows.
"The place was silent. That's what struck me as I was walking up Bridge Street... it was just eerie.
"I looked to my left and in the doorway was the body of Johnathan".
Mr Lee said "there was a lot of anger, a lot of disgust", but "it was amazing how the town responded".
He added: "There's no doubt in my mind that the events of Warrington had a significant impact on what subsequently happened in Northern Ireland."