Uproar as Fusilier Lee Rigby memorial in Woolwich removed by local council

Date published: 22 January 2018

The memorial for Fusilier Lee Rigby at the site of his death in Woolwich has been removed by the local council, because it ‘looks unsightly’.

25-year-old Fusilier Rigby, from Middleton, was stabbed to death outside the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south London, in May 2013 while off duty. His killers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, were sentenced to life in prison in December 2013 after they were found guilty of his murder.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich Council announced the move online, immediately coming under fire from disgusted social media users, with many calling for a permanent memorial at the location.

User ‘mickeyboy’ wrote: “Disgraceful. Have you no shame? Maybe all memorials should be removed, if that's your stance. But no, let's blame it on the nearby school, how about educating the school kids that probably witnessed what occurred there.”

Chris Hills raged: “Seriously! A man whom gave his life for his country for his beliefs, savagely murdered for his country, and all you do is remove it! How about keeping it tidy? Clearing the rotten stuff?”

Another user known only as ‘Sarah’ added: “You should be ashamed by your decision. A young man lost his life in a brutal and despicable manner. And you want to erase his memory; are you serious? He’s a strong reminder of the state of the country.”

A spokesperson for the Royal Borough of Greenwich said: “The unofficial memorial to Fusilier Lee Rigby was removed on 17 January following requests from local residents and we are also aware of the fact there is a nearby school whose pupils have to walk past this every morning and every evening. We are acting now because the number of items has expanded significantly in recent months and many have been weathered, worn and look unsightly.

“Residents of Elliston House were invited to share their views and we believe that the residents should not have to live under such conditions going forward.

“The council has spoken with Lee’s widow and mother ahead of the removal to make them aware, and they are sympathetic. We have also consulted with the Army and Police. The items were removed carefully and packed away for the family to collect if they wish.

“The brutal murder of Lee Rigby will be remembered by all of us; he remains in our hearts and minds. We understand that people want to pay their respects, and so Royal Greenwich served two official memorials to honour not only Lee, but all of those who serviced or lived in the Royal borough and sacrificed their lives for our country since 1945.

“There is a memorial plaque in nearby St George’s Chapel and a book of remembrance at Woolwich Town Hall, along with an online version. Together these memorials create a lasting legacy.”

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