Mo mows ahead
HAVING friends in high places is vital for the success of any campaign.
In 1998, as Colin and Wendy Parry conceived the idea of what became the Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball Peace Centre, in Warrington, it struck a chord at the top.
This was the year when the prime minister Tony Blair and Northern Ireland secretary of state Mo Mowlam signed the historic Good Friday Peace Agreement.
Her drive and frank speaking made an indelible impression on Colin and Wendy.
Colin recalls: “We met Mo Mowlam for the first time in early 1998.
“She later visited Warrington as guest at a Town Hall reception and we discussed the charity we formed.
“We fielded the idea of a Peace Centre and she immediately started asking about the cost and time- scale and we suggested about £1m and 12 months.
“She said, ‘F*** it, let’s do it in 12 weeks! Give me the names and phone numbers of people we need.’
“She was superb and lifted our fund-raising to an unbelievable level.
“She contacted people like Bill Clinton who gave a lot of money. I’m not cynical about politicians: ex-PM John Major has done a lot for us and Jack Straw, has been excellent.
“Mo got all the pledges we needed in 12 weeks. She drove the digger to cut the first sod to start building.”