Cabbies salute victim of Cumbria gunman

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The Independent Online

Cabbies blew their horns to salute a victim of Lakes gunman Derrick Bird today.

Drivers at the Duke Street taxi rank in Whitehaven, Cumbria, sounded their hooters in a single unbroken note for one minute to remember fellow cabbie Darren Rewcastle, killed last week.

Their cabs decked in flags of St George, the drivers bowed their heads during the salute.

Mourners wept as the note sounded following a memorial service to the 12 dead at St Nicholas Church Gardens, just metres from where the cabbie was shot.

"It's what Darren would have wanted," said Big Eddie, a driver at the rank and Darren's friend.

Mr Rewcastle, 43, the adopted son of 69-year-old Betty Scoones and her husband Ted, 72, became the third victim when he was shot at point-blank range at the taxi rank, where he had worked alongside Bird.

The murderer shot the cabbie dead and then circled Whitehaven's one way system, returning to Duke Street to take pot shots at other drivers.

A hard, cold wind blew as around three thousand mourners listened to deputy council leader George Clements call on the community to pull together in the wake of the tragedy.

Cllr Clements said: "There are no words which can express the spectrum of emotions each of us has been through during the past seven days and nothing I can say can ease the pain.

"The world is watching west Cumbria and we must ensure we are not defined as a region by the shootings but by our response to them."

The rector of Whitehaven, the Rev John Bannister, thanked the townsfolk for the way in which they had worked to support each other since Bird's rampage.

And he praised their "sheer goodness"

He said: "The healing of this dreadful hurt upon our communities will only come from the support that we give to each other as a community.

"Although I think this community of west Cumbria is probably one of the least prepared communities, just in terms of the sheer goodness to have had such a blow fall upon it, I can't think of many other communities so able and so resourced to come through this with spirit."