Funeral held for young gamekeeper

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Family and friends of former Donside teenager Calum Murray – who accidentally shot his girlfriend then turned the gun on himself - turned out in their hundreds to pay tribute to him at his funeral in Cushnie this week.

Calum’s girlfriend, Sophie Taylor, was also laid to rest in Tomintoul this week.

On April 12, 18-year-old trainee gamekeeper Calum - a former pupil at Westhill and Alford academies - shot himself after accidentally firing a bullet that killed Sophie, 16, as she cooked dinner with a friend at his remote home near Tomintoul.

He was laid to rest at Leochel-Cushnie Parish Church in a service led by the Rev Ewan Glen, of Monymusk.

His family said in a statement: “Calum was extremely popular and his death in such tragic circumstances has left a gap in our lives. It is impossible to describe the sense of loss we are feeling. There is an immense sadness to have lost him so prematurely but we are thankful for the wonderful memories he has left us, and those will be cherished forever.

“We have been touched by the support we have had from family and friends, who have all been touched by Calum’s warm personality, and the turnout today is testament to the kids of person that he was.”

Calum was raised in the Dunecht and Tillyfourie areas and completed a cookery course before embarking on a career as gamekeeper. According to his family, he was very passionate about his new career, loved the outdoors, walking with his dogs in the hills and had shown a real flair and desire to progress with his gamekeeping.

He was a gamekeeping student at North Highland College, Thurso, and many of the mourners dressed in traditional gamekeeping tweeds.

Thousands of people have left messages on a social networking site set up in memory of the teenagers.