Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Sunday, 18 October 2009 16:53 UK

Bombing daughter launches charity

Jo Berry

Jo Berry said tackling knife crime was one of the charity's aims

The daughter of one of the five people killed in the bombing of Brighton's Grand Hotel 25 years ago has returned to the city to launch a new charity.

Jo Berry's father, Conservative MP Sir Anthony Berry, died in the explosion which came close to killing members of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet.

Ms Berry's charity, Building Bridges for Peace, is the result of her 25-year quest to forgive those responsible.

Brighton bomber Patrick Magee was joining Ms Berry for the launch.

He was convicted and sentenced to serve at least 35 years in jail, but released in 1999 under the Good Friday Agreement.

He and Ms Berry have been in contact ever since.

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"I have learned that rather than just being the enemy, there was a human being we could have communicated with," she said.

"I think we have to find ways to communicate with people before they choose violence."

She and Mr Magee are featured in a film about reconciliation, Soldiers for Peace, shown at the Duke of York's Picturehouse in Brighton on Sunday.

Afterwards they were to answer questions from the audience together.

Ms Berry said she was not surprised by the continuing interest in their friendship.

Grand Hotel today
The Grand Hotel was bombed on the morning of 12 October 1984

"I can see it is an unusual friendship and sometimes it surprises me," she said.

"I hadn't planned for this to happen but we will carry on meeting as long as I feel it is contributing in some way."

She said the charity would work on projects at home and overseas.

"I live near Manchester and I am going to be helping some work there with families of knife crime.

"It is about raising awareness in schools and with children. I feel that learning the language of reconciliation and mediation and if how we resolve our conflicts is very important for children."

She said Mr Magee was aware that his presence in Brighton might cause distress to people.

"We are looking at what we can learn and where we go from here and he is hoping he won't cause distress to anyone," she said.



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SEE ALSO
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Audio Slideshow: The Brighton Bomb
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Brighton bomb victim: Why I forgive
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Brighton bomb 'led to peace'
28 Aug 00 |  Northern Ireland

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