Mo Norton: What Survivors for Peace means to me
February 14, 2014 | admin
Mo Norton has been a participant in the Foundation’s Survivors for Peace Programme since 2003. Mo’s brother Terence Griffin was killed on the M62 Coach bomb in 1974. Here’s what our programme has done for Mo.
“I first became involved with the Foundation in 2003. It was quite by chance really. My husband saw Colin Parry in B&Q and got talking to him about Colin and Wendy losing Tim in the Warrington Bomb. My husband explained to Colin that I too had lost somebody to Northern Ireland terrorism namely the M62 Coach bomb (12 people lost their lives two of them were little boys aged 5 and 2). Colin gave my husband a business card and asked that I contact the Foundation’s Programme Manager, Jo Dover as they were doing some research on what needs people had who had been affected by the Northern Ireland conflict.
This started what was for me, a long and at times painful journey. Not only did I help with the ‘Needs Analysis’ that the Foundation were undertaking, which explored the needs that I and others had in the aftermath, but I found I slowly progressed on to participating in some of the various programmes that the Foundation carries out. I found that I started to feel more comfortable about talking about my brother and what affect it had on myself and my family. It is not that I couldn’t talk about it before; it was that I couldn’t talk about it without getting very upset or experiencing nightmares. I found that as I became more confident about talking about the incident that my brother was involved in, I wanted to help others who had been affected by terrorism, even if it meant only lending a listening ear. Some of the programmes I attended also gave me the confidence to talk publicly about what had happened something I would never have done before. In time I found the courage to travel to Ireland both in the North and the South and talk with others who had been affected by the conflict.
I also felt very unhappy about the original memorial plaque that was on the M62, near where the bombing happened. There were 7 errors on the memorial and it also had the wrong date on it. The Foundation gave me the confidence and courage to campaign for a new memorial. They also assisted in making contact with the survivors of the coach. This was a huge task as I didn’t even know where the relatives of the bereaved or survivors lived. I had spent many fruitless weeks ringing various army departments and nobody could help me. The Foundation helped me to put together the campaign and gave me both practical and emotional support throughout. On the M62 at Hartshead Services there now stands a more fitting and respectful memorial to the 12 people who lost their lives.
I know I speak not just for myself but for many others who have been affected by terrorism when I say that we would feel completely lost if the Survivors for Peace programme was unable to continue. This programme helping people who have been affected by terrorism has enabled me and so many others to find positive ways of channelling any negative feelings that we might have with regards to the trauma we have experienced. If the programme closes down it means not just me but others will not be able to carry on working towards peace and reconciliation. The work the programme does is invaluable to me. There is no other place in the UK that helps those who have been affected by terrorism and the programme is vital to me and many others.”