Published: Monday, 25th March 2019
Following consultation with residents, works to improve the area around Woolwich tower block will include new memorial to Fusilier Lee Rigby.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich has reached agreement with Rebecca and Lyn Rigby, the widow and mother of the late Fusilier Lee Rigby, to plant a memorial tree at the site of his murder in order to remember and honour his life.
The tree will be dedicated to the Fusilier with a simple, dignified plaque, which will encourage anyone wishing to pay their respects to Lee to make a donation to three charities nominated by the family.
The memorial will form part of wider improvements to make the area around Elliston House greener and more pleasant. The plans were designed in consultation with local residents, and include new trees to help improve air quality. Local school children helped design two new shrub beds in Rectory Place.
The Council and the Rigby family had intended that the permanent memorial installed in the nearby St George’s Garrison Church would help the family to move on with their lives and provide a place where any member of the public could go to pay their respects.
However, since then a number of people unconnected to the Rigby family have argued that another memorial should be provided on the spot of the murder. Many of these people are well-meaning but their efforts have been adopted by groups with views that are at odds with the wishes of the Rigby family.
The actions of such groups have often disrupted the lives of local residents who wish to go about their business in peace and also cause distress to local schools where children can be disturbed and upset at the public disorder on display.
Last year a member of the public replaced a paving slab by the site of Fusilier Rigby’s murder with a memorial stone. This, and another unofficial memorial, will be carefully removed and handed over to Lyn Rigby as per her wishes.
Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said:
“Everyone in the Borough accepts and understands the need to remember Fusilier Rigby in an appropriate manner. He was murdered in the most shocking of circumstances. His family has always conducted itself with the utmost dignity and agreed to a permanent memorial being installed in the nearby St George’s Garrison Church in 2015.
“We have now agreed with the family that we need to reconsider the issue of an appropriate memorial so that Lee can finally rest in peace. It will also allow the Rigby family to continue to rebuild their lives without the regular intrusion of the media and other people using this shocking event for their own purposes.
“As part of the agreement, the Council and the Rigby family have made clear that we will not support any unofficial plaques or other memorials near the site. This will help to prevent the risk of Lee’s tragic murder being used for any other cause.”
The works to improve the space around Elliston House, including the planting of a memorial tree to Fusilier Rigby, commenced on Monday 25 March and are scheduled to be complete by mid April.