Remembering Cumbrian shooting victims one week on

By Caroline Henderson
BBC News in Whitehaven

image captionTaxi drivers sounded their horns during the service in Whitehaven

A week ago, people across west Cumbria were being warned to stay in their homes as gunman Derrick Bird carried out his violent rampage in towns and villages across the region.

Today, people in those towns and villages came out in their hundreds to be together to pay their respects to those who died and pray for the wounded.

In Whitehaven, flowers were placed by friends and loved-ones in the centre of the congregation at the open-air service at St Nicholas' Church.

As the minute's silence began with the clanging of a school bell, people quietly wept for loved-ones, the horror of what happened just seven days ago still fresh in their minds.

As the quiet lifted, taxi drivers and motorists blasted their horns solidly for another minute to show solidarity.

Shops closed to allow workers to take part in the service.

This community is hurting but it is united in its grief.

"The healing of this dreadful hurt will only come from the support we give each other as a community," said the Reverend John Bannister, Rector of St James Church in Whitehaven.

Many of those at the service in Whitehaven were there because they could not make it to gatherings being held where they live.

'Show respect'

Mel Gould was one of them.

He said: "Someone I know was killed in Gosforth.

"I couldn't make it to the service because I work here in Whitehaven but I needed to show my respect."

Victoria Finnegan, 32, said: "It's a nice and respectful thing to do to show how we are feeling.

image captionFlowers have been left at the taxi rank in Whitehaven

"We are doing more than just laying down flowers, we are all here together.

"I am glad they (services) are everywhere so people can go, even if they are not in Whitehaven."

Michael Goldwater, who has lived in Whitehaven for 35 years, said: "I feel I have to be here out of love and respect.

"I knew three of the victims; they were my friends. We are a close-knit community."

England flag

Taxi drivers who lined the streets during the service were keen to share their plans to ensure the memory of their friend and colleague Darren Rewcastle, who was shot dead by Bird on Duke Street, Whitehaven, lives on.

Lynne Hicks, 38, who has been dubbed the "leader" of the taxi drivers by her fellow workers, has organised a collection of money to be given to the Rewcastle family.

image captionTaxi drivers decorated their vehicles in memory of Darren Rewcastle

Miss Hicks has also arranged for taxi drivers working in the town to sign an England flag in his memory and they have decorated their cars with flags and ribbons in tribute.

She said: "Darren had his car decorated with flags and ribbons ahead of the football World Cup so it seems fitting to do this for him.

"He would have loved this, he loved being the centre of attention."

Some drivers said that despite their friendship with Derrick Bird, a fellow taxi driver, before the attack, they would not be attending his funeral.

Alan Mossop, 30, said: "It wouldn't be right to go to Derrick's funeral.

"I knew him as a decent man but I can't go because of who he was for those few hours last week."

Eddy Mason, 42, said: "We are still in shock. I was friends with Derrick but I just feel I can't go."