Cumbria services remember victims of the recent shootings

By staff writers
June 9, 2010

A series of memorial services is taking place across Cumbria today to remember the victims of the horrific series of shootings in the area on 2 June 2010.

Clergy, civic leaders and faith groups from across the spectrum are involved in the services, which will culminate in a minute’s silence at midday to mark a week since Bird’s murderous rampage.

Garry Purdham will be the first victim of killer Derrick Bird to have a funeral. It will be held in the village of Gosforth on Thursday 10 June.

On Friday 11th, a service will be held in Workington for Kevin Commons, a 60-year-old solicitor who was gunned down on his driveway in Frizington.

David Bird, twin brother of the gunman, will be laid to rest on Monday 14 June, while Derrick Bird himself will be the last of the 13 to be given a funeral, out of respect to his victims, say organisers.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people packed into a Whitehaven church on Tuesday night to pay their own respects to victims of last week’s shootings.

The Catholic Mass at St Begh’s Priory, on Coach Road, is on the same street where one of Mr Bird's fellow taxi drivers was shot by their disturbed colleague.

Michael Campbell, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Lancaster, led the service.

Speaking afterwards, he said that one of the questions many were asking was "Where was God?" while the murderous rampage was going on. The answer, he said, was in the midst of the suffering, and now with those bringing hope and healing.

Candles were lit in front of statues in the church in memory of the victims, those injured, and their friends and family. The names of all the victims was listed under each statue, along with the message: “For all those who grieve for them and all those who were injured may they be granted healing and strength. Lord, in your mercy, hear out prayer.”

Bishop Campbell declared during the service: “The people of west Cumbria have shed enough tears since last Wednesday when that sequence of prolific and evil events cast a shadow over this most beautiful part of God’s country."

He continued: "We have the compassion of many people near and far. You will struggle and continue to struggle to find words and meaning of the unspeakable horrors that were visited among your communities."

“At a time of helplessness and bewilderment let us turn to God for strength and courage,” said the bishop.


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