Tears for friends and family lost in Cumbria shooting

By Caroline Henderson
BBC News, Whitehaven

Image caption,
The family of Darren Rewcastle wept during the emotional service

An emotional memorial service was held in Whitehaven to remember the victims of gunman Derrick Bird, who went on a shooting rampage in west Cumbria on Wednesday.

Twelve candles were placed in the middle of the congregation at St Nicholas' Church gardens as a tribute to each of those who lost their lives.

As their names were read out during the open-air service, the rain started to fall.

Many of the hundreds of people who lined the streets around the church to pay their respects cried as they remembered their lost friends.

It was never going to be an easy day for the families affected, but it was impossible to ignore the pain endured by the loved ones left behind.

The family of taxi driver Darren Rewcastle, who was one of Derrick Bird's victims, were visibly distraught during the service.

They offered comfort to each other and it was clear from the number of people there that the community as a whole shared their grief.

The service included hymns, prayers and blessings.

Rev Tom Parsons, of St John's Church in Hensingham, played a haunting oboe solo to allow the congregation some time to "remember and reflect".

Val Watson, 51, who lives in Whitehaven, said: "It's nice people have come together to share this.

"It will take us all a long time to get over what has happened but this will help."

During the service, the Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Rev James Newcome, paid tribute to the people of Cumbria, saying: "They are tough as teak wood but gentle as lambs."

Despite their strength, there is no question that this community will never forget Wednesday, 2 June.