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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Cumbria and England game raises £50,000 for Purdham family

A special rugby league match in Whitehaven raised more than £50,000 for the young family of gun rampage victim Garry Purdham.

Cumbria v England photo 2
Cumbria v England

A huge crowd of 5,250 – the biggest in the county for a RL match in five years – saw Cumbria pull off an incredible 18-18 draw against a full England international team, in a tribute game to the late Whitehaven, Workington Town and Egremont Rangers forward yesterday.

The former Gosforth farmer was killed in the shootings by Derrick Bird in June, and widow Ros cradled their younger son Flynn as his elder brother Cameron led out the county team with skipper Rob Purdham, his uncle.

“It was a great crowd and it’s all going to help,” said Mr Purdham, Cumbria’s man-of-the-match yesterday.

“We can’t thank people enough for turning up.

“It won’t secure the future of the young lads, but it will go a long way in helping. Their dad wasn’t here, but the rest of us have tried to put smiles on their faces for a day.”

A statement was issued on behalf of the Garry Purdham Trust thanking all involved in the special day.

“Today, the rugby league family has joined together to leave a living legacy in the name of Garry Purdham to financially assist the Purdham boys in the future,” it said.

“The Purdham family wish to thank everyone connected with today’s special match including organisers, players, staff and especially all of the fans who have supported the game in such numbers. We are truly overwhelmed. Garry would be very proud of you all.

“The organisers hope to raise £50,000 for the Garry Purdham Trust.

“Due to the magnificent response we are very hopeful that the target will be exceeded.”

Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood played a pivotal role in securing the match for Cumbria, just five days before England set off for a major tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

“It was a terrific game for all concerned,” he said.

“No one can begin to imagine the devastation in June wreaked on west Cumbria, Ros and her family.

“Bringing the England side up here is part of what rugby league is about.”

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