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Vigil plan for Pc killed in floods


Pc Bill Barker who was killed in the floods in Cumbria

Pc Bill Barker who was killed in the floods in Cumbria

Pc Bill Barker who was killed in the floods in Cumbria

The widow and four children of a police officer who was swept away during the floods in Cumbria last year will hold a vigil to mark the anniversary of his death, it has been announced.

Two more tragedies the county suffered over the last year - the shooting spree by Derrick Bird and a school bus crash in Keswick - will also be remembered.

Pc Bill Barker, 44, was guarding the Northside Bridge in Workington on the eve of his birthday when it collapsed, throwing him into the River Derwent.

His job had been to prevent pedestrians and motorists from crossing the weakened structure, which had been battered by the swollen waters.

Mr Barker's body was later found washed up on a beach at Allonby. His widow Hazel and their four children will attend a candlelit vigil to be held on the first anniversary of his death, Saturday November 20.

The hour-long open-air tribute will take place in the car park of Workington's Tesco store near where Pc Barker was swept away. Mrs Barker, 46, insisted the vigil must also be in memory of Derrick Bird's 12 victims and the three people who died in the Keswick school bus crash in which two children lost their lives.

Sixteen Chinese lanterns will be released during the vigil - one for every victim - in front of Mrs Barker and her children Simon, 17, Melissa, 16, Daniel, 14, and Emma-Louise, eight. Workington MP Tony Cunningham will also attend the event, which is open to the public.

Mrs Barker, from Egremont, Cumbria, said: "In just under seven months, we had these three horrendous events here. For the floods to happen is just completely unbelievable. But then there was the Keswick bus crash in May. And then to cap it all, only eight days later, we have the shootings.

"Of course, the effects of the floods was more than just about Bill. People lost their homes and their businesses too. We are very conscious of that - and have been right from the beginning."

The vigil will finish with a firework display after which there will be a charity evening called One Night For Bill - Cumbria In Union at the Washington Hotel in Workington. Auction items include a Manchester United shirt signed by Wayne Rooney.