Family and friends say farewell to gunman's victim

The first funeral service for a victim of the Cumbria gun massacre took place today with loved ones and hundreds of mourners paying their last respects to Garry Purdham.

The father-of-two was shot dead while working in the fields at his father's farm outside Gosforth, a random victim of Derrick Bird's rampage.



As a boy, the farmer's son ran down the country lanes to the village school just across the narrow lane from the church, where today his family and friends said their final goodbyes.



His heartbroken wife Ros, their sons Flynn, aged two, and Cameron aged eight, parents Jack and Bridget, and brother and sister Robert and Becky led mourners into the ancient village church of St Mary in Gosforth, for the start of the service.



Around 200 people were in the small chapel, with hundreds more spilling out into the church grounds, listening to the service broadcast on a PA system.



His death brought heartbreak and shock not only to his family and neighbours, but to the local farming and rugby community - the other two "loves of his life", his family said.



Mourners were asked by his family to wear bright colours and many of the 31-year-old victim's friends from the local rugby league scene sported the club jerseys of Whitehaven, Workington and Egremont - the three teams he played for, both as a professional and amateur.



Mr Purdham was described as "tough as teak and as gentle as a lamb" and many more young men wore shirts with the club crests of local amateur teams he had played against.



Village life came to a standstill, as Gosforth's three pubs, bank, smattering of shops and cafe all closed as a mark of respect.



A smiling photo of Mr Purdham adorned the front of the order of service with the words: "In loving memory of a devoted husband, father, son, brother, nephew, cousin and friend."



Inside was a collage of photos of Mr Purdham in happier times - one of him at his brother's wedding, another holding his two sons in his arms, another with his brother standing on a tractor, and one of him playing rugby.



A church has stood on the same site in the village since Viking times and, with different branches of the Purdham family farming the area for generations, the local farming community was also out in force.



Mr Purdham worked the fields at his father's farm, Low Boonwood, nestling under Gosforth Hill, just a mile outside the village, where he became Bird's ninth fatal victim during his killing spree last Wednesday.



Bird finally turned the gun on himself as police closed in.



The service, conducted by the Rev Jonathan Falkner, rector of St Mary's, began with a hymn popular in the countryside, We Plough The Fields And Scatter.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn