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No Woolwich memorial for Lee Rigby despite 12,000-strong campaign
DESPITE the support of nearly 12,000 people, including members of Lee Rigby's own family, there are still no plans for a Woolwich memorial to the murdered solider.
Lorna Taylor, whose son fought with Fusilier Rigby in Afghanistan, has led the calls for a permanent tribute at the site where the soldier was run down and killed last year while on his way back to Woolwich Barracks.
But Greenwich Council insists a final decision rests with the Army, who say "the most dignified and appropriate manner" to mark the soldier's life is at the National Arboretum memorial, where his name will appear among other fallen comrades.
Ms Taylor, whose Facebook group Memorial For Fusilier Lee Rigby has 11,800 supporters, said: "I was hoping they'd see this is what the Woolwich community want."
The 46-year-old retail worker, of Western Way, Thamesmead, added: "Woolwich is an army town so we should honour our fallen soldiers. I believe a tribute near where he died would be a fitting place."
The sensitivity of the issue has been heightened by last week's news that Michael Adebolajo, found guilty of the murder last year, is appealing his conviction.
A plaque for murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence in Eltham sets a precedent for the memorial, though the Well Hall Road tribute has occasionally been the target of vandals.
But Greenwich Council leader Councillor Chris Roberts has often seemed defensive over the Woolwich murder's location, disappearing when the Prime Minister visited after the killing, questioning groups' motives for memorials to the fallen soldier and calling for Woolwich to be "left alone" by the media.
Fusilier Rigby's mum Lyn told News Shopper she would be writing to the council in support of the group. A council spokesman said the letter would be considered when it arrived.
And, responding to the calls, Greenwich Council released a statement last week, saying: "From the outset, the council has determined to work with and through the Army which Lee loved and through which he served his country and gave his life. Given the Army's historic role in the history of our town it does not make sense to do otherwise.
"The Army has been our link to Lee's family and we will continue to work through and with them in managing this still painful and raw matter. We will consider requests through the Army, but we would expect the Army to be the first call for those wishing to create memorials."
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "We would like to thank the community of Woolwich for their continued support following the tragic death of Fusilier Lee Rigby.
"We recognise the importance of properly commemorating Fusilier Rigby’s sacrifice and this will be marked at the National Arboretum where his name will appear alongside colleagues, friends and all soldiers who have died on operations."
He added: "The manner in which the local community of Woolwich has supported its Army partners in the aftermath of the tragic death of Fusilier Rigby has been exemplary, inspiring and appreciated hugely."
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