The Princess Royal joined hundreds in the Cheshire town for a minute’s silence in memory of two boys who were killed in the explosion 25 years ago.
In 1993, Tim Parry, 12, and Jonathan Ball, three, were caught up in the blast on a busy Warrington shopping street. The IRA had planted two devices in bins near to where the children were.
Princess Anne was joined by the Irish ambassador of the UK, Adrian O’Neill, at the service on Bridge Street, close to where the bombs went off.
The father of Tim Parry, Colin, paid an emotional tribute at the ceremony, reading out a letter he had written for his son. He read: “It is 25 long years since the very last time I gazed upon your smiling face. It is 25 years since I last heard you speak.
“It is 25 long years since I last held you. It has been 25 long years of the pain of missing you. You have touched the lives of many people, most of whom you never met, but they have met you and they thank you for what you have given them.
“It is 25 long years since I last saw you, heard you and held you, my son, but you are never far. You will be with us all until the time comes for us to join you and see you, hear you and hold you once again.”
Jonathan died at the scene of the blast and Tim died five days later. 54 people were injured in total. The IRA claimed responsibility, but no one has ever faced justice, and the police file remains open.
Following the devastating event, Colin and his wife Wendy set up the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace. The Foundation works to support victims of terrorism and help young people and communities whose lives have been affected by extremism.