Pride of Wearside nomination for gun campaigner who lost three loved ones in New Year’s Day shootings

Bobby Turnbull
Bobby Turnbull
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GUN campaigner Bobby Turnbull is in the running for a Pride of Wearside Award.

The 24-year-old, who lost three members of his family to gunman Michael Atherton, has led a successful one-man drive to change flawed firearm licence guidelines.

Now the inspirational campaigner has been nominated for a Pride of Wearside Award in the local hero and role model category, which recognises individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and bravery. “It’s a real honour to be nominated,” said Bobby. “I’m stunned.”

The greenkeeper’s mum Alison, 44, sister Tanya, 24, and aunt Susan McGoldrick, 47, were murdered by gunman Atherton in the New Year’s Day shootings in Horden, County Durham.

The 42-year-old taxi driver, who turned the gun on himself, legally owned six weapons, including three shotguns, despite a history of domestic violence.

Bobby, of Blackhall, County Durham, launched a petition calling for new firearm guidance following the 2011 tragedy.

After meetings involving key ministers and politicians, they were changed to ensure that any history of domestic violence is taken into account when 
considering a licence application.

“It was something I was determined to see through,” he said. “The campaign attracted a lot of support and I was able to offer my input in the drawing up of the new guidelines, which have now been introduced.

“Now I want to make the guidelines mandatory, so police forces have to follow them.”

Meanwhile, a TV documentary is set to reveal how the family members left behind following the horrific gun attack are still coming to terms with the events that took place, as well as following their efforts to change gun licensing laws in the UK.

The show, which will be broadcast on the Crime and Investigation Network as well as Sky and Virgin, is part of the Britain’s Darkest Taboos series.

“Anything that raises awareness of the issues surrounding guns can only be a positive thing,” added Bobby.