It was “an honour and a privilege” to attend a special ceremony at which a memorial quilt was unveiled in memory of children who were murdered during the Troubles, a participant has said.
Gary Murray, whose 13-year-old sister Leanne was killed in the 1993 Shankill Road bombing, was speaking after South East Fermanagh Foundation’s (SEFF) fifth annual service of remembrance and thanksgiving at Fivemiletown Methodist Church.
“It was a brilliant day, very emotional and very heartfelt,” he said of the event, which he attended with his mother Gina on Sunday.
“It was an honour and a privilege to be there,” he added. The patch in his sister’s memory featured a netball and the name of the Girl’s Model School where she was a pupil.
Almost 600 people attended the service.
Scott Clark also attended with his mother Mavis, in memory of his uncle Alan Jack. He died in an IRA bomb attack in Strabane in 1972, aged only five months.
“It was very good, we were very impressed,” he said of the event. “My mum attended a meal beforehand and later helped unveil the memorial quilt. It was definitely worth going to.”
A patch was unveiled on the quilt in his uncle’s memory, which consisted of a pram and children’s toys.
David Temple, whose 16-year-old brother William died in the Claudy bombing in 1972, was also very positive.
“The day was tremendous for victims,” he said. “A lot of people had travelled long distances. It all brought back a lot of memories among them.”
He added: “It is good to see history on these quilts that will stay forever. For generations to come they will not be forgotten.”
The patch in his brother’s memory featured a cricket bat, a football and a scene of the Claudy bombing.
Kenny Donaldson, SEFF director of services, said the quilt which was unveiled featured 62 children and adults who were killed.
“We were overwhelmed by the numbers attending the service, from right across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain,” he said.
Those who came used the words “powerful, emotional and deeply poignant” to describe the day, he said.
SEFF’s youth choir, made up of people whose loved ones were killed in the Troubles, also took part. And families of Clogher Valley area victims Drew Beacom, George Gilliland and Eva Martin, shared scripture readings, testimony and reflections.
Rev William Newell relayed “a wonderful message of hope and renewal – made possible through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” he added.