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Bloody Friday and role of 14-year-old hero Stephen Parker must not be forgotten

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In a part of the world where all too often the wrong people have been turned into heroes, Stephen Parker really was one.

The 14-year-old had a summer job in a shop on the Cavehill Road in north Belfast. As bombs went off all over the city on Bloody Friday, he spotted a suspect device in the back of a car parked outside.

He ran into all the shops nearby, warning people to get away from the bomb. When it exploded, he was hit with the full force of the blast. He died instantly.

There was so little left of him that his father identified Stephen’s body from his scout belt and the box of trick matches he had in his pocket.

His mother, Dorothy, spoke of a happy, high-spirited boy who never sat still and was always playing tricks on his parents.

His father, the Rev Joseph Parker, chaplain of the Mission to Seamen in the city, salvaged part of the debris from the bomb.

Along with a Catholic priest who gave Stephen the last rites, he made it into a cross as a memorial to the dead.

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Two years later, the family left for a new life in Canada. When the Rev Parker died there in 2018, his ashes were brought back to be interred with his son’s in Roselawn Cemetery.


© Belfast Telegraph

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