Lee Rigby Tribute

Government will endorse permanent tribute to murdered Lee Rigby with family's support

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Government will endorse permanent tribute to murdered Lee Rigby with family's support
22nd May 2014

The Government has said it will endorse calls for a permanent memorial to Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich if supported by the Rigby family.

A Government spokesman said: “Britain has a long tradition of memorials to pay respect to the fallen through public subscription, including memorials to mark acts of IRA terrorism on the British mainland.

“Provided such a memorial has the support of Drummer Lee Rigby’s family, the Government is happy to endorse a proposal for an appropriate memorial, such as a memorial plaque, in Woolwich.”

An online petition calling for a remembrance site in Woolwich, where the 25-year-old was killed, had been signed by thousands of supporters.

But the Royal Borough of Greenwich had said it had been told by the Army that the Rigby family did not want a permanent memorial in Woolwich.

A spokesman said today: “Following further speculation this week, the Leader of the Council is writing to Lee's family to establish direct contact with them and to ensure we can work alongside them as they continue to remember Lee and the sacrifice he made for his country.

"In the meantime, the flags at our Town Hall will be lowered in memory of Lee and a two-minute silence will be held in his honour today after which the Mayor and Leader of the Council will lay a wreath at the Woolwich Barracks."

Lorna Taylor also told London Live today that the family did want a memorial.

She said: "It's really untrue. I've actually got a written letter from Lyn [Lee's mother] and it's been posted on the memorial group that she does want a memorial for her son."

Local Labour MP Nick Raynsford, who is opposed to the idea of a permanent memorial, had claimed it could attract extremists. But the Government have since dismissed such claims.

 “Calls for a memorial have already attracted broad support from the public,” a spokesman said.

“We disagree with those who have suggested that a public memorial would encourage extremism.

“Instead, extremism in all its forms should be challenged and we should not cave in and abandon long-standing British traditions.”

The father-of-one, who had previously served in Afghanistan, was stationed in Woolwich, working as a recruitment officer, when he died.

He also performed duties at his regiment's headquarters at the Tower of London.

Fusilier Rigby's murder sparked shock across the country after he was run over in a car and then hacked to death by British Muslim converts Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale on May 22 last year.

Adebolajo was told he will spend the rest of his life behind bars while Adebowale was given a minimum jail term of 45 years for the horrifying attack.

Bikers from across the UK and abroad will lead tributes to Fusilier Rigby today with a ride in his honour through Woolwich.

A lead group of bikers plan to ride from Greenwich Park, past the scene of the murder and up to the barracks' parade ground before marching to the main gates, where the ceremony will be held.

The rest of the bikers will ride past the barracks as the memorial event takes place.

A wreath will be laid and the Last Post played as well as a performance by a group of Sikh drummers.

No official event is planned at the barracks itself, or on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

Home Secretary Theresa May is among dozens who have paid tribute today.

She said: We shall never forget the appalling crime which was committed so publicly in Woolwich a year ago and our thoughts must go to Lee Rigby's loved ones on this very difficult day.

"The entire country united to condemn his death and the murderous ideology his killers espoused.

“They were swiftly brought to justice and we are committed to doing everything we can to challenge those whose beliefs and behaviour threaten our way of life."

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