U-Turn as Council Allows Memorial to Lee Rigby to Be Built in Woolwich
A memorial to murdered British soldier Lee Rigby will be built near the spot where he was killed by Islamist extremists last year. The local authority in South London had originally opposed a memorial out of fears it would become a focal point for the far right, but it has now changed its mind and allowed it go ahead.
The Express reports that planning officials from Greenwich Borough Council in London will now hold talks with Fusilier Drummer Lee Rigby's family regarding the design and exact location of the memorial.
The family had been campaigning for a memorial to be set up at the spot where Rigby was killed by Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo, two Islamist fundamentalists who were sentenced to long-term jail sentences earlier this year.
Local councillors originally rejected the plan, despite the idea of a memorial being supported by Islamic Society of Britain and the Conservative Muslim Form.
Councillors feared that a memorial would attract unwanted attention from the far right, and local Labour MP Nick Raynsford also opposed the plans saying:
"It would not in my view be helpful for the site where Lee Rigby was murdered to be marked in perpetuity by a memorial, as this would be a continuing reminder of the brutal murder and might attract undesirable interest from extremists."
Yesterday, Lorna Taylor, who 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 Johnson also welcomed the decision: "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."