"As a 14-year-old, when someone politely asks if you'd care to
knock down part of a wall, you would immediately thing of 1,000
other things you'd rather be doing. A hammer and a chisel are hardly
top of the list when when it comes to the average teenager's idea
of a fun-packed afternoon.
"But this time it was different. It was a chance to have a crack
at the Berlin Wall.
"As a youngster in 1990 taking part in a football tour of the
then West Germany, I had heard the stories about the war, about
great divisions and, of course, about the wall itself.
"The Berlin Wall was built in 1961, first in barbed wire and later
with concrete, to separate West Berlin from the East and the Cold
War threatened to erupt into nuclear war. Stretching 28.5 miles,
it was designed to stop the exodus of people flooding into the western
part of the city. It separated families and even cut through homes.
When it was completed it stood as a sign of segregation.
"In November 1989, after protests throughout the city, it was
decided that the wall should come down. So, six months later, I
did not expect the wall still to be the centrepoint of a city bearing
the scars of isolation. I found myself with about 14 of my peers
looking at a construction so basic, yet so significant. It was like
nothing I had seen before.
"It was covered in graffiti and extremely grubby. People were
queuing to buy pieces from unscrupulous salesmen, selling a memento
symbolising a newly-found freedom.
In turn, we all knocked our own chunk out of the Berlin Wall."