The final loving text Lee Rigby sent to his mother was revealed today as the murdered soldier’s family spoke of their pride for him.
Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was killed just yards from his barracks in Woolwich on Wednesday.
On Friday his tearful mother, stepfather and wife appeared at a press conference in at the Regimental HQ of his unit, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers at Bury in Great Manchester, where they described of their loss.
The mother of murdered soldier Lee Rigby, Lyn, comforts her husband and stepfather to Lee, Ian Rigby, as he reads a family statement to the media
Breathing heavily to contain his emotions, Ian Rigby said: “The last text he sent to his mum read: ‘Goodnight mum, I hope you had a fantastic day today because you are the most fantastic and one in a million mum that anyone could ever wish for. Thank you for supporting me all these years, you’re not just my mum, you’re my best friend. So goodnight, love you loads’.”
Drummer Rigby’s wife Rebecca, who is mother to their two-year-old son said: “I love Lee and I always will. I am proud to be his wife and he was due to come up this weekend so we could continue our future together as a family.”
Lyn Rigby is comforted by her daughter Sarah McClure
Two men suspected of carrying out the attack on Drummer Rigby were shot and arrested. They remain in police custody thought Scotland Yard has not revealed whether officers have been able to speak to them.
Detectives are questioning a man and a woman, both 29, who were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of conspiracy to murder Drummer Rigby.
Mrs Rigby, sobbing back tears, added: "He was a devoted father to our son Jack and we will both miss him terribly."
Asked about the shock of the attack being on British soil, Mrs Rigby added: "You don't expect it to happen when he's in the UK. You think they're safe.
"His proudest moments were serving in London on the ceremonials with the drum corps."
Mr Rigby read out a statement on behalf of an prepared by the whole family.
Drummer Rigby's wife Rebecca, who is mother to his two-year-old son Jack
It said: "What can we say about Lee, our hero, we are so so proud of Lee. When Lee was born the family adored him, he was a precious gift given to us.
"Lee had a fiery temper when he was younger, I used to sit on him to calm him down till he got too big at 15, then he used to sit on me.
"Lee's dream growing up was always to join the army which he succeeded in doing, he was dedicated and loved his job."
"Lee adored and cared a lot for his family, he was very much a family man, looking out for his wife, young son Jack, younger sisters, whom in turn they looked up to him, he always had a banter with them but would never ever let any harm come to them.
"He was over the moon being a dad and uncle, he adored them all."
Drummer Rigby had served tours in Afghanistan, Germany and Cyprus
A post-mortem examination was carried out on Drummer Rigby’s body on Thursday but no cause of death has been confirmed, Scotland Yard said.
An inquest into his death will be opened in due course.
Mr Rigby added: "Lee was a man who loved people. He had many friends growing up in Middleton and on army duties all over the world.
"He believed life was for living and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
"Courtney and Amy his younger sisters wrote this for Lee: 'Rest in Peace Lee, we loved you so much, you didn't deserve this, you fought for your country and did it well.
A teddy bear bought by Drummer Rigby for his son Jack, placed alongside a family portrait
"You will always be our hero we are just upset you left us so early. Love you Lee, goodnight.'
Mr Rigby continued: "We would like to say goodnight Lee, rest in peace our fallen soldier, we love you loads and words cannot describe how loved and sadly missed you will be.
"We would like to thank everybody, the police and army for the amazing support we have received and for all the goodwill wishes we are receiving from all over the country in memory of Lee.
"Our hearts have been ripped apart from us, everyone is struggling to cope with this tragedy, so we would ask the press to respect our privacy to grieve our son's parting as we try to come to terms with this."
Mr Rigby then read out a poem, a tribute to Lee from an unknown poster on a Facebook page. It read:
"You fought bravely and with honour died,
"You leave your family so full of pride,
"Sleep well young soldier, your job is done,
"Your war is over, your battle won.
"Our family chain is broken and nothing is the same,
"But as God takes us one by one,
"Our chain will link again."