Pub landlord thanks 'unsung heroes of Cumbria tragedy'

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The Independent Online

A pub landlord blasted by crazed gunman Derrick Bird thanked the tragedy's "unsung heroes" from his hospital bed today.

Harry Berger was shot in the shoulder as the killer drove past his car in Seascale and opened fire.

Bleeding heavily, he endured an agonising 90-minute wait for help to arrive, with his wife Paddington by his side.

The father-of-two, who is the new owner of the Woolpack Inn in Eskdale, was airlifted to hospital in Carlisle where surgeons operated.

He remains in hospital and will undergo further surgery before he is fully on the road to recovery.

But he found the strength to thank those who had been by his side during his hour of need.

In a statement given to Mrs Berger, he said: "Wishing all the best to family and friends that have been a great help and support over the last week, and a massive gratitude to all the unsung heroes affected by this."

Mrs Berger has divided her time between visiting her husband in hospital and managing the historic inn, where staff are preparing for the Boot Beer Festival this weekend.

"We've had a lot of support from a lot of people and Harry is very grateful," Paddington said.

She said Harry had endured two significant operations and would remain poorly in hospital for some time.

Bird shot Mr Berger soon after killing farmer and semi-professional rugby league player Garry Purdham, 31, as he worked in a field in Gosforth.

He then headed south for Seascale, where on Drigg Road he killed cyclist Michael Pike, 64, and Jane Robinson, 66, who was delivering home shopping catalogues.

He then shot dead estate agent Jamie Clark, 23, who was driving through Seascale, before attacking Mr Berger.

Bird then headed for Boot where he blasted campers before killing himself in a wood near Penny Hill Farm, less than a mile from the Woolpack Inn.

The first Mrs Berger knew about her husband's injury was when police rang her to ask for confirmation of her husband's vehicle registration.

They told her he had been shot in Seascale and Paddington said she thought it must have been a bank job, having not heard the news.

She got to Seascale to find Harry had been shot in the arm in his car as the killer drove past.

"He was in considerable pain and we had to wait a long time for the ambulance because of the lock down," she told the News and Star in Carlisle on Thursday.

"Eventually Harry was airlifted to hospital in Carlisle and the police drove me there."