Lee Rigby’s son, 12, speaks out about his father’s death for first time
The 12-year-old son of soldier Lee Rigby has spoken publicly for the first time since his father was brutally murdered in London a decade ago.
Private Lee Rigby, 25, of the Royal Fusiliers, was attacked and killed by two Islamic extremists in May 2013 as he walked off-duty near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south London.
His killers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, are both serving life sentences.
Fusilier Rigby’s son, Jack Rigby, was just two-and-a-half years old when the nation was rocked, and his life forever changed by the tragedy.
Photos from Fusilier Rigby’s private funeral in July 2013 showed the youngster – then a tot in arms – wearing a t-shirt bearing the words “my daddy my hero” as he clung to his grieving mother, Rebecca.
Ahead of the 10th anniversary of Fusilier Rigby’s death on Monday, Jack has spoken for the first time about losing his dad, as he takes on a fundraising challenge in his memory.
“I want to raise £1,000 for every year my dad has been gone and would absolutely love to raise £10,000 for the 10-year anniversary,” he told the Mirror.
The schoolboy is walking and running 26.2 miles – the length of a marathon – during the course of this month in aid of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a charity that supports bereaved children whose parents have died while serving in the armed forces, and which supported Jack after his dad’s death.
“I feel proud doing the May Marathon in honour of my dad,” he said. “It also helps distract me from everything. Going on a long walk is a nice break and reminds me it’s not all bad.”
As a toddler, the trauma of losing his father caused him to regress developmentally and lose the ability to speak, reports the Mirror.
On his Scotty’s Little Soldiers fundraising page, where he has now already raised more then £11,000, Jack writes that the anniversary of his dad’s death is “never easy”.
“But this year feels even harder for some reason,” he said of this 10th year.
Jack’s mother Rebecca, now 40, spoke of the enduring impact Fusilier Rigby had on the youngster despite his death.
“Just because Jack was young, it doesn’t mean he’s forgotten Lee,” the teacher, from Halifax in West Yorkshire, told the Mirror.
“Lee has always been such an important part of our lives and always will be. I’m so proud of Jack in everything that he does, and I think that Lee would be as well.”
“Jack wanted to do something positive in memory of his dad. He wants to show how even though he’s grown up without Lee, he’s not forgotten his dad.”
Adebowale and Adebolajo ran over Fusilier Rigby with a car close to Woolwich Barracks in May 2013, before stabbing him to death in broad daylight.
The father-of-one died as a result of multiple cut and stab wounds following the attack fuelled by Adebowale and Adebolajo’s extremist beliefs, which were described as a “betrayal of Islam” at their murder trial in 2014.