brian and julie

Peace Centre facilitates meeting between the family of Birmingham bombing victim Maxine Hambleton and Paddy Hill of the ‘Birmingham Six’

November 17, 2013 | Nick Taylor

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace facilitated a meeting between Paddy Hill of the ‘Birmingham Six’ and the family of Maxine Hambleton, who was killed in one of the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974. The meeting was filmed as part of a BBC West Midlands documentary entitled ‘Who Murdered Maxine?’ to be screened in the lead up to the 39th anniversary of the bombing.

The Birmingham pub bombings occurred on 21 November 1974, killing 21 people and injuring over 180 people with many more affected. The bombs placed in two city pubs were detonated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army and was the deadliest attack in Great Britain until the London 7/7 bombings in July 2005.

A number of men, later to be known as the ‘Birmingham Six’ were arrested immediately and given life sentences in 1975 but were later acquitted after spending 16 years in prison.

Julie and Brian Hambleton, brother and sister of Maxine Hambleton, a 21 year-old victim of the bombings, launched a campaign entitled ‘Justice For The 21’. This started in the form of an online petition with the aim of getting the criminal investigation into the bombings reopened and the perpetrators brought to justice. ‘Justice for the 21’ has presented a dossier to the Prime Minister and are actively campaigning for justice and feature in a BBC documentary film.

Paddy Hill has supported the campaign as well as setting up his own organisation to challenge miscarriages of justice.

The BBC commissioned the Foundation, as a specialist in responding to violent conflict, to facilitate dialogue between the family and Mr. Hill at the international Peace Centre in Warrington, a building set up in memory of Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball, victims of the IRA Warrington bombing.

The meeting was carefully planned, brokered and supported and took place earlier this year.

Nick Taylor, Chief Executive said: “this was a very challenging and emotional meeting for Brian and Julie in their quest for justice, and for Paddy, and we did what we could to offer our professional services and the sanctuary of the Peace Centre to hold this difficult conversation.

“People affected by terrorism and political violence experience a very unique trauma and it took immense bravery for each of them to face each other. There was a really positive outcome and connection that hopefully will help them moving forward.”

The Foundation for Peace works with victims, survivors and those affected by terrorism and political violence. The Foundation is the author of a study of the needs of British Victims & Survivors of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles.’ There was an estimated British death toll of 600 (18% of the total) with over 2000 injured and many more impacted. 350,000 people served in the armed forces in Northern Ireland. The work to support victims of terrorism is unique, developed over a period of 12 years it delivers positive outcomes that benefits clients and society generally. The work extends to support victims, regardless of the conflict geography and is now delivered in a global context.

Victims of terrorism suffer trauma that sometimes results in physical injuries but most often results in social isolation, recurrent post-traumatic stress and re-victimisation. Foundation services assist recovery from trauma, promote action for people to find their ‘normal’ lives through increasing social participation and also enables us to work with communities and professional services to react to future critical incidents.

Clients include not only victims and survivors but bereaved families, those affected, Armed Forces veterans, emergency service professionals and ex combatants.

Who Killed Maxine? A BBC Midlands Inside Out production and will be broadcast in the Midlands region on Monday 18th November 2013 at 19:30 GMT. The programme will also be broadcast on the BBC News Channel and available on the BBC iPlayer. The programme can also be seen out of region on SKY channel 959.

To read the BBC press release:

 BBC Contact: 0121 567 6275 @BBCBhamPR

read the blog of programme producer Anthony Bartram http://foundation.local/odd-alliance-forged-by-birmingham-bombing-doc/

Justice 4 the 21: @justice4the21

The 39th anniversary will be marked by a community vigil at the Birmingham bombing memorial plaque in the grounds of Saint Philip’s Cathedral at 18:00 on Thursday 21st November 2013.