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Woolwich Anniversary: Boris Backs Memorial

Thursday 22nd May 2014

A year on since the brutal murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, the Mayor of London has given his backing to a memorial in Woolwich.

Lee Rigby The young soldier was deliberately run over before being hacked to death by Muslim fanatics Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale on 22nd May 2013.

Adebolajo was given a whole-life term for the murder and Adebowale was jailed for at least 45 years.

Thousands of supporters have backed calls for the 25-year-old to be given a permanent remembrance site in Woolwich and Boris has told LBC City Hall will support the plan.

"I think it was an absolutely shocking event and it's very, very important that we should remember Lee Rigby and our thoughts obviously remain with his family and his loved ones," the Mayor of London commented.

"It is vital that we come together as a city and we remember the work that is being done day in, day out by our security forces, by our intelligence services and I'm delighted to see Lee Rigby's killers now being brought to justice.

"I think there are issues that need to be worked out with how the family would like Lee Rigby memorialised and how the council would like to do it but certainly here in City Hall we've indicated that we're fully in support."

Religious groups, including the Islamic Society of Britain and the Conservative Muslim Forum have expressed their support for the plan however both the local authority and MP Nick Raynsford have rejected the campaign.

Mr Raynsford said the way the community reacted to the death of Lee Rigby - several people stood between his body and two killers - "was very impressive" however he said that the local community wanted to "avoid the shadow" of the event hanging over the area.

"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."

My Raynsford believes a memorial would be better placed in Lee Rigby's home town in Lancashire.

"His regiment, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, has also made clear that Lee Rigby's memory will be honoured in perpetuity and I understand that his name is to be added to the list of fallen soldiers at the national arboretum. He will be remembered as a brave soldier who died doing his duty," he added.

A spokesman for the Royal Borough of Greenwich said the council is in regular contact with the Army, and is trying to get in touch with Fusilier Rigby's family directly.

"The Army have told us that 'Fusilier Rigby's immediate family have been closely involved in all the memorial plans to date and they are satisfied that his memory will be properly preserved. They are not seeking an additional memorial in Woolwich," he added.

A memorial service is being held in Woolwich this morning. A message will be read from his mum.

His family are having a separate private memorial service.