Rugby star Purdham's tribute to Cumbria victim brother

Garry Purdham

Harlequins Rugby League captain Rob Purdham has paid tribute to his brother Garry, one of 12 people killed by Cumbria gunman Derrick Bird.

Garry, 31, was killed during the shooting rampage as he worked on his father's farm near Gosforth on 2 June.

Rob said he was "honoured" to be a pall-bearer at his brother's funeral - but it was the worst day of his life.

Mr Purdham was the ninth person to be shot dead by Bird, 52, who killed 12 and wounded 11 before killing himself.

Mr Purdham, who left his widow Ros and sons Flynn, two, and Cameron eight, was himself a rugby league player.

Fans of the teams he played for were among hundreds of mourners who attended his funeral on 10 June at St Mary's Church in Gosforth.

His brother Rob said: "It was the worst day of my life, saying goodbye to him. It was disbelief, like a bad nightmare.

"It was hard carrying the coffin but it was something I wanted to do. It was an honour to carry his body to his final resting place.

"He was Mr Dependable. He was a quiet man who just got on with his job, his rugby, his life and his family.

Rob Purdham described his brother as "Mr Dependable"

"He was a great brother. We will never forget him."

Friends from the local rugby league scene sported the club jerseys of Whitehaven, Workington and Egremont - the three teams Mr Purdham played for, both as a professional and amateur.

During the funeral, Mr Purdham's wife said: "The short time we had as a family was the best time I and the boys have ever had.

"Garry was, and still is, my best friend, my soul mate and my husband and the most stunning dad anybody could ever have."

Rob was among the six pall-bearers. The coffin was carried past a guard of honour of players and officials from Egremont Rangers RLFC.

The service was broadcast to about 600 people who stood outside in the church grounds.

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