Friday, 13 June 2014

Lee Rigby memorial: victory at last for campaigners

A memorial for fusilier Lee Rigby is to be built near the scene of his brutal murder last year, it has been revealed.
Councillors have had an apparent change of heart and dropped their opposition to plans for a fitting tribute to be created in Woolwich, South East London.
Fusilier Rigby, 25, was attacked and killed by Muslim extremists near Woolwich Barracks on May 22 last year. Two men are currently serving life sentences for his murder.
Planning officials from Greenwich Council are now due to hold talks with the late solder's mother Lyn and other family members regarding the exact location and design of the memorial.
Only last month Lyn Rigby criticised the council chiefs after their attitude towards the idea of a memorial.
The family and their supporters have been pressing for a tribute to be set up at the spot where Lee was killed by Islamic extremists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.
Lorna Taylor, who has led the campaign for a memorial, said: "It doesn't bring Lee back and it does not eradicate extremism, but it certainly is an everlasting memorial to Lee and that is all the family and Lyn herself wanted.
"It is somewhere where future generations can go and pay their respects to Lee.
"He did a fantastic job as a soldier. He was a great family man and a lovely father. To honour him in this way, a British soldier murdered on our streets, is fantastic. We are really, really pleased."
London Mayor Boris John welcomed the decision.
He said : "It is all down to the support of the public and I think it is that that Greenwich Council have listened to in the end.
"I think it is quite right that Lee Rigby should have a memorial of this kind.
"As I understand it, we are still working on exactly what it will be and the shape of it - whether it is a plaque or a statue or whatever.
"But my experience of these things, with memorials, is that they are very difficult to organise and they do take time and there is a lot of sensitivity.
"People will want to look at it not just as a memorial to drummer Lee Rigby but also to the way that London came together, the way that the community rallied round in the wake of this appalling death -- appalling murder -- in Woolwich and they will want to show their solidarity."
A Greenwich Council spokesman said : "There has been a discussion with Lee's family and also with the Army about a suitable way of going ahead.
"Those discussions are ongoing. We don't want to get involved in a running commentary about what is going on because this would not be fair to Lee's family or the Army."
The decision to set up a memorial follows a campaign led by Lorna Taylor, whose son served with Mr Rigby in Afghanistan.
She was supported by listeners of LBC Radio, whose petition for a memorial attracted 25,000 signatures.
Colonel Richard Kemp, 56, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, welcomed the decision.
He said : "It is absolutely right. I think we have got a very long tradition of remembering and honouring our servicemen who have been killed.
"I think it is absolutely right that this horrific event and the victim of it, the very brave soldier Lee Rigby, is remembered as well in this way.
"I think it is fantastic news. This was an unprecedented event. We have seen nothing like this before.
"We have not seen a member of our armed forces hacked to pieces on the streets of one of the cities in Britain simply for being a member of the forces. I think it is an event that needs to be remembered.
"He personally needs to be remembered and honoured, but also it is important that people remember what happened here."
Supporters of the campaign for a memorial wrote of their delight at the decision on LBC's website.
Hayley Clitheroe, from Deptford Green School in Deptford, South East London, said : "Well done. everyone. About time too!"
Deborah Brown said: "Very appropriate for there to be a memorial to this soldier who had served his country but was then murdered on the street in Britain, in full view of the world."
David Conroy from St John's RC School in Upton Park, East London wrote : "About time too. Have to hope that it something more disignifcant than just a plaque outside Woolwich Barracks."
The move was also warmly praised on Twitter.
One man, David, wrote : "Fantastic news that a memorial for Lee Rigby will be erected in Woolwich. Well done the British Public for their campaign."

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