Thursday, 3 June 2010


Yesterday afternoon when I heard that a gunman was shooting people in Whitehaven, my first thoughts were of my cousin who works in the town. As soon as I could I was checking on that first port of call in our social media age Facebook, to see if she had updated her profile to tell us she was OK. Thankfully she had, but for 12 others the news was not so great and further 25 had been injured.

After Hungerford and Dunblane our guns laws in the UK have become some of the most stringent in the world. But there are sometimes no way that even stringent guidelines for issuing licences can stop what locals say was the out of character actions of Derrick Bird yesterday.

With my uncle and cousin both involved in the Rugby world the fact that one of those killed was Garry Purdham a back row Rugby League forward for Wokington, brother of Rob the Harlequins captain and England cap, means there is someone they probably know among the dead.

The role of the dead includes Bird's twin brother, the solicitor dealing with a family will, fellow taxi drivers and then in indiscriminate drive by victims. The pensioner delivering shopping catalogues, the cyclist, the retired Sellafield security guard and others.

Coming so soon after the coach tragedy of 3 dead Keswick school children, indeed on the day of Chloe Walker's funeral, this small and beautiful corner of England is facing more mourning.

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