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1993: 'I was outside Boots when the bombs went off'

On a busy Saturday afternoon before Mothers' Day two blasts ripped through the town centre of Warrington.

It was the second time the IRA had struck in the Cheshire town in as many months, but this attack in the Golden Square shopping mall was by far the most serious.

The bombs on 20 March 1993 had been hidden in cast-iron dustbins, which the police said had the effect of turning them into huge hand grenades.

A three-year-old boy was killed in the explosions and another, aged 12, later died of his injuries. Fifty-six people were injured.

Your stories

My wife and I were shopping in Warrington looking for gifts for our daughter, who was to celebrate her birthday three days later.

We were heading towards Boots, but went into BHS to have lunch and change her.

We were evacuated from the shopping centre 10 minutes later when the bomb went off, and it took us nearly an hour to get out of the town centre due to the traffic - all the time worrying that there could be more bombs in the vicinity.
Chris Quinn

I was outside Boots when the bombs went off. I remember thinking that it must of been a gas explosion, a bomb never crossed my mind until a paramedic told me.

For many years later I had a huge hate for all the Irish as my injuries prevented me from having a "normal" life. But since becoming a mother I have been able to forgive, as I don't want to give my child my hate and repeat the cycle.

But it doesn't stop me from seeing that little boy every time I sleep.
Charlotte, Warrington, UK

I had met my wife at dinner time as she was working in the BT shop - she was six months pregnant with our first child.

We were walking up Bridge Street and I actually put a sandwich wrapper in one of the bins that exploded about two minutes before the bomb.

I remember us standing deciding which cash point to go to and we decided to go one out of Bridge Street. We walked away and were about 30m from the bin when the first bomb went off.

I recall how the whole street become quiet and then the second bomb went - and that is when the panic began and everyone ran up Bridge Street.

We went straight home and I remember all the phone lines being jammed.
Ian Faulkner, UK

Though I was not in Warrington at the time of the explosions, I remember it well as both my parents were meant to be shopping in the town on that day.

I was sat at home a few miles away from Warrington enjoying my freedom owing to the lack of parents when the bomb blasts were reported.

Luckily for me, due to the amount of traffic in Warrington, my parents had decided to go elsewhere.

The memorial at the site of the explosions is a beautiful thing with the local children's hand prints placed into the fountain which my now five-year-old daughter likes to press her hand into.

It is such a shame that it even had to be there. An awful day in my history.
Rod Bell, UK

I was putting the key into the backdoor of my house and I heard the two massive explosions [at about 1210 hours]. Thinking nothing of it, I turned on the radio as I was getting changed and within minutes, the news of the bombs was everywhere.

After the panic of making sure all my friends and family were safe-and letting them know I was, I later realised the true reality of it all and how close I'd come to losing members of my family.

My uncle and cousin, who was in her pram at the time, were sat on the benches outside Boots, having lunch. According to the Boots receipt, the time they'd purchased their snacks was around 11.50am. Due to my cousin getting niggly and figety and unable to settle, my Uncle decided to take her home about 10 minutes later.

Although two young boys did lose their lives unecessarily and we will never forget what bad memories that day brought for many of us. I can only be grateful that my uncle and cousin survived, with minutes to spare. I think they kept the Boots receipt as a shocking reminder of how lucky they both were.
Natalie Daniels, England


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