Sport mourns Purdham death

Tributes have been paid to Workington forward Garry Purdham, who was one of 12 people shot dead by gunman Derrick Bird in Cumbria yesterday.

Purdham, 31, was most recently a player with local community side Egremont Rangers and a former professional with Whitehaven and Workington Town.

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “We are extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic events which occurred yesterday in Whitehaven and surrounding areas. Clearly a great number of Rugby League  people will be personally affected by these truly awful circumstances.

“The thoughts of everyone at the RFL and within the Rugby League family are with the Purdham family and with the local West Cumbrian community at this difficult time.”

Garry’s brother Rob is captain of Super League side Harlequins.

A statement on the Workington club website by club chairman Dave Bowden said: “Everyone at the club is shocked and devastated to hear this unbelievable and tragic news. Garry Purdham was quite simply a gentleman and a real pleasure to know.

“As a player he was as honest and industrious on the pitch as indeed he was off it. He would think nothing of doing a stint on the farm before turning up to play professional rugby league.

“He had a wonderful, calm and mature temperament coupled with a dry sense of humour and as a result was one of those players that his team mates looked up to. He had the respect of the whole rugby league community in West Cumbria, and will be missed by all involved in it.

“Our thoughts and very much with all Garry’s family at this very sad time.”

Meanwhile, Harlequins chairman David Hughes also sent their “deepest sympathy and condolences.”

He said: “The thoughts of everyone at the club are with the Purdham family at this terrible time, and all those affected by yesterday’s tragic events in Cumbria.”

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