UK
29/03/2015 13:54 BST | Updated 29/03/2015 13:59 BST

Lee Rigby Memorial Unveiled In Hometown Of Middleton

A memorial to mark the "ultimate sacrifice" of murdered soldier Lee Rigby has been unveiled in his home town.

Family and friends of Fusilier Rigby, 25, gathered for a dedication service at Middleton Memorial Gardens where a bronze drum and a plaque in his honour went on public display.

Fusilier Rigby - a drummer and machine gunner with the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers - was killed outside his barracks in Woolwich, south-east London, in May 2013 by two Islamic extremists.

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Lee Rigby Memorial

His four-year-old son, Jack, was among those attending the ceremony in Greater Manchester.

Together with his mother, Rebecca, he laid a floral tribute at the memorial with a message reading: "Me and Mummy Miss and Love You lots and lots. Jack xxx."

Also at the service were the soldier's mother, Lyn, stepfather Ian and father Philip McClure.

Speaking at the ceremony, Colonel Mike Glover, regimental secretary of the Lancashire Fusiliers, said: "The afternoon of May 22 2013 Fusilier Lee Rigby, of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, paid the ultimate sacrifice when the horror of the battlefield was brought to the streets of Woolwich.

"That day will forever be embedded in our nation's history and for many here today it will remain forever in our hearts.

"Lee's death sent shockwaves around the world, especially in Middleton where Lee had grown up.

"As a nation, as a member of his family, as a friend or a fellow Fusilier it is important we do not forget the sacrifice of Lee and those who served the Crown.

"All too often as time passes we close our eyes, forget the faces, forget the names, forget the stories. But this magnificent memorial will ensure we never forget."

He continued: "On September 1 2014, Lee Rigby was honoured by the nation at a ceremony in Staffordshire where his name was added to the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum but today it is his home town, his family, his friends, his fellow Fusiliers, at the site of this memorial can reflect upon the tragic loss of a son, a father, a friend and, above all, a Fusilier.

"We will remember."

An additional memorial wall has also been built at the gardens which in time will commemorate other local soldiers.

Councillor June West, chair of Middleton Township, said: "The Middleton community and the township were very clear in their support for a permanent memorial here in his home town - a lasting legacy where Lee and other soldiers can be remembered not only by their families and friends but by so many others who owe them such a debt.

"I would like to thank our local residents and those who have worked hard to make this happen.

"I would also like to thank Lee's family for their support and I know they too are pleased that calls for this local memorial were answered."

Speaking ahead of the service, Fusilier Rigby's mother said it was "a lovely tribute" to her son "who put his life on the line every day to serve his country".