‘Our 12 year old son Tim and 3 year old Johnathan Ball were killed by an IRA bomb in our home town of Warrington in the North West of England in 1993. As you can imagine we were devastated by our son’s death but, with the passage of time, we decided that we could and should do ‘something meaningful’ in memory of both boys and so we set about creating a charity to help young people and adults turn away from violence as a means of settling the conflicts in their lives.
In the first two years after the charity’s formation in 1995, we focused on bringing together British youngsters and Irish youngsters from both sides of the Irish border and from both sides of the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland. They took part in our inaugural Youth Exchange learning programme, ‘The Tim Parry Scholarship’. The word ‘scholarship’ was chosen because this was not a holiday, but a learning programme where participants examined the key issues of shared history and the stereotypes that have disfigured inter community and intra country relations for so long.
The Foundation’s success is measured by building friendships in place of prejudice and distrust, and this continues to be the core goal in all the learning programmes that we offer today . . .
By 1998, our success gave us the confidence to build a unique Peace Centre in Warrington where we could do more and reach further than we were ever able to do in the early years…and so, in 2000, on the 7th anniversary of the bombing, we opened the doors of our iconic £3m Peace Centre and from then onwards, achieving the goals we originally set ourselves, really began in earnest.
The highly skilled team that we employ in the Centre has worked tirelessly with us to build a strong and durable charity which remains true to our twin dreams . . . of providing a lasting legacy to the two young boys who lost their lives, and of providing guidance and help to people everywhere, regardless of race, faith, skin colour or politics, and to do so not just today but long into the future’.
Colin & Wendy Parry