Purdham mourns murdered brother

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The Independent Online

Harlequins captain Rob Purdham is on compassionate leave following the death of his brother and fellow player, Garry, in Wednesday's Cumbria shootings. Garry, a 31-year-old former Whitehaven and Workington player, was gunned down by Derrick Bird in a field he farmed in the village of Gosforth.

"Garry was quite simply a gentleman and a real pleasure to know," said David Bowden, the chairman of Workington, the club where he ended his professional career in 2008 and which is planning a permanent memorial to him.

"He had the respect of the whole rugby league community in West Cumbria and will be missed by all involved in it. He was a local lad who had a wonderful temperament and a really dry sense of humour."

Neither Workington nor Whitehaven, where the brothers played together, have a game this weekend, but the Rugby League said there would be a minute's silence before every game, at all grades and age groups. "We are extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic events which occurred in Whitehaven and surrounding areas," said the RFL's chief executive, Nigel Wood. "The thoughts of everyone at the RFL and within the rugby league family are with the Purdham family and the local West Cumbria community at this difficult time."

Rob Purdham travelled home to the family farm as soon as the news broke. He is not expected to play against Crusaders at The Stoop on Sunday.