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The Story of Gordon Wilson

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Gordon Wilson held his daughter's hand as they lay trapped beneath a mountain of rubble. It was 1987, and he and Marie had been standing watching a peaceful Remembrance Day service in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, when a terrorist bomb went off. The rescuers dug them out of the rubble and rushed them to hospital. But, by the end of the day, Marie and nine other people were dead.

A few hours after the bombing, when interviewed by the BBC, Gordon Wilson forgave the terrorists who had killed his daughter. He said that he would pray for them. He also begged that no-one took revenge for Marie's death. "That", he said, "will not bring her back."

The loss of Marie shattered Gordon Wilson and his wife Joan, but, they were anxious that bitterness and hatred should not rip apart the small town of Enniskillen. Before the bomb, Protestants and Catholics in Enniskillen had lived side by side, and the Wilsons wanted it to stay that way. The bomb had done a lot of damage, not just to the buildings in the town but in the relationships between Catholics and Protestants. As Christians, the Wilson wanted to help repair this damage between people.

After his television interview, Gordon Wilson received many letters from people across Britain and the rest of the world. Many supported him, but many others criticised him. Even though he insisted that terrorists should be punished for their crimes, people accused him of excusing them.

Throughout the rest of his life, Gordon Wilson worked hard to bring reconciliation between people in Northern Ireland. The Irish government rewarded his work by making him a Senator in the Irish parliament.

Gordon Wilson came face to face with the people who had planned the Enniskillen bombing. The terrorists apologized for killing Marie. But when Gordon asked them to stop bombing and shooting, they refused.

Gordon Wilson died a few years ago. After his death, many people in Northern Ireland carried on his work. Today, in Northern Ireland, the bombings and shootings have stopped thanks to the work of people like Gordon Wilson.


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A Primary Vision resource provided by Stockport Christians in Schools Trust