A local businessman hailed the ‘resilient’ West Cumbrian community for getting back on its feet after the harrowing events of 10 years ago.

Gerard Richardson, who runs a wine merchants in Whitehaven, said he was struck at the time at how dignified the town and area was, despite going through an event which propelled them into the national spotlight.

When Derrick Bird went on his gun rampage, which killed 12 people and injured a further 11, before turning the gun on himself, back on June 2, 2010, Whitehaven was suddenly descended on by hordes of national media.

And Mr Richardson, who at the time was one of the organisers of the town’s Maritime Festival, said he was impressed with the way local people dealt with the tragedy.

Now 10 years later, the area has bounced back, whilst still remembering the victims.

“To be honest I was organising the festival at the time and because of the nature of what happened I think the town has responded really really well,” said Mr Richardson.

“It was truly awful what happened and people said at the time that the town would have a similar notoriety as Dunblane, and would be forever associated with the shootings, but they were wrong. The town has been so resilient.

“My heart goes out to the victims and anyone that loses someone like that can never recover fully.”

Mr Richardson remembers the memorials that were held that brought all of West Cumbria together to unite in a collective outpouring of grief for the loved ones that were lost.

He said: “We had a memorial one week on and one 12 months later and then I think there was a request from families to close the chapter on it.

“I think they said they did not want more after that, they were so very brave.”

He feels that the town has managed to recover from the atrocities that happened 10 years ago and said: “Thankfully there has not been a long-term effect.”

Mr Richardson looked back to the events and praised The Whitehaven News for how they handled the stories.

He added: “Thinking back I think the national press were being really intrusive and one of the ways The Whitehaven News shone was the work done by them at the time.

“Stories were being used in the nationals that were written locally as people didn’t want to talk to the nationals.

“From my perspective all tribute to the people involved as they showed such dignity.

“Colin Edgar, as a community leader, should maybe have the spotlight on him, he was heading The Whitehaven News at the time and the response of the paper was dignified in how they handled it.

“Some nationals were disgraceful.

“I said at the time the way the nationals handled it became too intrusive.

“I realise that they have to have angles, but they were trying to get the best shots of where it took place – it became too intrusive.

“It was one of the times it really shone to have a community paper who we trusted.”

The festival, which went ahead shortly after the shootings also remembered the victims.

Mr Richardson said: “Katherine Jenkins was appearing in the festival and she said a few words and dedicated a song.

“I don’t think there was a dry eye there.”