Lee Rigby’s mother remembers ‘gentle, imperfect’ son 10 years after murder
Lyn Rigby, the mother of the murdered soldier Lee Rigby, says she speaks to her son every morning and can still feel his presence a decade after he was killed.
Fusilier Rigby, 25, was killed on 22 May 2013 by terrorists near his barracks in Woolwich, south London. His attackers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, were found guilty of his murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Lyn Rigby told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that her son would never be forgotten, and that she wanted to use his legacy to do more for bereaved families.
“I still speak to Lee, usually at the nighttime when I get time to myself, when everybody has gone to bed,” Rigby said. “I’ll sit and light a candle, and look at Lee’s picture and just talk away to him. Sometime I’ll laugh, sometimes I’ll cry and sometimes I’m angry. I just do it every single morning when I open my eyes. I have a picture of Lee in the bedroom and I’ll speak to him every morning. That gives me a focus to get up and to carry out what I’ve got to do that day.”
Rigby said she believed her son was able to hear what she was saying. “Things happen in the house, things can fly off the windowsill or the mantlepiece and there’s nothing to explain why this has happened. I do feel warmth in the nighttime and feel that Lee is there, sat next to me, giving me a hug and telling me that he loves me,” she said. “For the table, when we have family occasions and all get together for a celebration there’s always an empty chair there for Lee at the dining table.”
After his death, the Lee Rigby Foundation was set up as a support network for bereaved military families, and has fundraised to provide caravans for the families to use. “Lee was a very gentle soul,” Rigby said. “He wasn’t perfect – he had his awkward and stubborn sides – but he had a heart of gold and would help anybody. He would want me to do this, and to carry on in Lee’s name for the bereaved families. I think Lee would be proud of what we are doing.”
Rigby said her most treasured memory of Lee was him throwing Coco Pops cereal down the stairs when he was a toddler. “It just sticks in my mind – as I said, he wasn’t perfect, he had his days when he was very difficult at times,” she said.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said: “My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of Fusilier Lee Rigby on the 10th anniversary of his senseless murder. We will never forget the appalling events of that day and on behalf of all Londoners, I want to extend deepest sympathies to his loved ones and all those impacted by his death.
“London will never be cowed by terrorism and Londoners will always stand together in the face of hate and division and those who wish to harm our way of life.”