Spirit of Enniskillen Trust

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The Spirit of Enniskillen Trust
FounderGordon Wilson (peace campaigner)
Registration no.Charitable status granted by the Inland Revenue. Ref. No. XR15484
  • 97 Malone Avenue, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The Spirit of Enniskillen Trust was a youth led charity based in Belfast which worked across Northern Ireland with young people from a wide variety of backgrounds to "encourage and support young people from different cultural traditions and experiences to learn from discussion, find areas of commonality as well as learn to 'agree to disagree'. At the same time, the trust helped to develop their capacity, skills and commitment to initiate similar positive dialogue with others"[2]

The Charity ran for over 20 years and won The Guardian UK Charity of the Year in 2011.[3] It was wound up in 2013 because of a growing and unsustainable deficit in the organisation's pension provision.[4][5][6]


Gordon Wilson
Senator Gordon Wilson.jpg
Gordon Wilson with his wife Joan

The Trust was established in the aftermath of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) bombing of the centotaph in Enniskillen on Remembrance Sunday, 8 November 1987, which killed 11 people. The atrocity could have provoked a wave of revenge attacks, but the Trust built itself on the words and deeds of Gordon Wilson, who lost his daughter Marie (aged 20) in the explosion. The BBC has described the bombing as a turning point in The Troubles, and an attack that shook the IRA "to its core".[7][8] Pivotal to turning point was Wilson's reaction to the murder of his daughter Marie in an interview that he gave to the BBC only hours after her death. Wilson forgave the terrorists and said he would pray for them. He also begged that no-one took revenge for Marie's death and pleaded with Loyalists not to do so.

Despite his sadness at her death, Mr Wilson said in a BBC television interview: ‘I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge. Dirty sort of talk is not going to bring her back to life. She was a great wee lassie. She loved her profession. She was a pet. She’s dead. She’s in heaven and we shall meet again. I will pray for these men tonight and every night.’[9]


In 1989 the Spirit of Enniskillen Trust was founded to run international programme for young people.[10] The Spirit of Enniskillen sought to engage the energy, idealism and commitment of young people into the building of a shared, fair and diverse society in Northern Ireland. "The idea was to encourage young people aged between sixteen and nineteen from Northern Ireland to travel outside the Province and to use their experience to help build community bridges at home"[11]

In its latter years, the Trust operated three programmes:

  • Explore – International exchange and leadership
  • Future Voices – Promoting volunteering and participation
  • Together – Supporting “Shared Education” in post–primary schools.


  1. ^ http://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelarlow[self-published source]
  2. ^ BBC NI (22 May 1989). "Spirit of Enniskillen Trust". BBC Northern Ireland.
  3. ^ "Spirit of Enniskillen Trust Charity awards winner 2011". The Guardian. London. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  4. ^ "The Spirit of Enniskillen Trust closes". The Impartial Reporter. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Spirit of Enniskillen Trust charity folding due to pension crisis". BBC. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  6. ^ "The Spirit of Enniskillen Trust has closed". The Detail. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Educational Television Programmes for lectures, training seminars and exhibitions" (PDF). BBC Active. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  8. ^ "Age of Terror" (Television Documentary). BBC. 25 March 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  9. ^ "Spirit of Enniskillen Trust". Insight on Conflict.
  10. ^ "The Spirit of Enniskillen Trust". Soetrust.org. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  11. ^ McCreary, Alf (1996). Gordon Wilson, An Ordinary Hero. Marshall Pickering. p. 120.