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The BBC's John Thorne reports
"The residential centre was inspired by the boy's parents"
 real 28k

Monday, 20 March, 2000, 15:56 GMT
Warrington bomb victims' centre opens
colin parry and the duchess
Colin Parry has campaigned tirelessly since his son died
A 3m centre for young people has opened in Warrington - on the seventh anniversary of a fatal IRA bomb blast.

Hundreds of people gathered in the town centre to mark the event and remember the two young boys who died.

Johnathan Ball
Johnathan Ball: Bomb victim
In 1993, three-year-old Johnathan had been in the town with his babysitter to buy a Mother's Day card when the explosion happened.

Tim, an avid Everton fan, had been shopping for football shorts when he caught the full force of the blast. He died five days later in Liverpool's Walton Hospital.

The tragedy also left 56 people injured.

Opening ceremony

On Monday, the Duchess of Kent was guest of honour at a ceremony in Bridge Street .

The area took the full brunt of the two explosions which devastated the town.

The duchess stopped to talk to the crowds who lined the shopping thoroughfare.

Tim's parents, Colin and Wendy Parry, have campaigned tirelessly to build a peace centre.

Tim Parry
Tim Parry: The football fan died five days after the blast
They helped set up a peace initiative within months of the explosion.

They say the Tim Parry-Johnathan Ball Young People's Centre is the realisation of their dreams and will be a safe haven for children.

The NSPCC and the Tim Parry-Johnathan Ball Trust have funded the venture and Warrington Youth Club will help them run it.

Mr Parry, who founded the trust, said it was very important that he and his wife created an environment where such an "act of savagery" which killed his son, never happened again.

"This single thought has been behind all the work that has gone into turning the Tim Parry-Johnathan Ball Young People's Centre into a reality," he said.

"We want young people at risk of violence to have a place where they can come and learn how they can help to shape a world where they can live in peace and security."

Prime ministers remember

Former Irish prime minister Albert Reynolds, who was also at the ceremony, said the Warrington bombing had inspired him and former prime minister John Major to take risks in a bid to achieve peace in the province.

"It brings all our minds back to the horrific tragedy that happened here seven years ago today," he said.

"I know John Major and I spoke about it on the day - it drove us on to make efforts to take more risks.

"It was a senseless destruction of young life - that's what led to our efforts in bringing out the Downing Street declaration."

The centre will open its doors to young people at the end of the month.

Former prime minister John Major: Peace work
Karen Wright, North West Regional Director of the NSPCC, said the centre was a "tangible result" of the organisation's Full Stop campaign, which aims to eradicate child abuse within a generation.

"Violence of any kind towards young people is wrong, and the whole community should be working against it," she said.

The centre includes residential accommodation for visiting groups from Ireland and around the world, an IT suite, cafe areas and sports facilities.

The building will also house the NSPCC's regional headquarters with a helpline and drop-in centre.

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