Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'We Heard That a Soldier Had Been Killed, We Said: Not Lee?' ; Community in Shock at Death of Popular Fusilier

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'We Heard That a Soldier Had Been Killed, We Said: Not Lee?' ; Community in Shock at Death of Popular Fusilier

Article excerpt

FRIENDS and neighbours have led heartbreaking tributes to tragic fusilier Lee Rigby - remembering a 'sport mad lad' who was 'born to be a soldier'.

Residents of the Langley estate in Middleton where Drummer Rigby grew up reacted with shock and anger at the news of his brutal killing. Some gathered in the street near Drummer Rigby's family home in Burnside Crescent to reflect on the tragedy. Others went to the nearby Burnside Community Centre where the Rev Philip Miller, of All Saints and Martyrs Church and local councillors held a drop-in surgery for stunned locals. Meanwhile, floral tributes were left at Middleton's war memorial. David Casson, 59, of Talkin Drive, Middleton, knew Drummer Rigby as a teenage footballer during his time with Middleton Boys FC. He said: "My son was good mates with him and he was a really likeable lad, quite a quiet lad, but also quite confident in himself and he carried himself very well. He always wanted to be in the Army and joined pretty much straight away after he left school. He was a proper soldier and the sort of lad any parent would be proud of. My son's devastated. We saw on the news that a soldier had been killed in London and we said 'not Lee?' as we knew he was based down there. Then we saw the police outside the house and the realisation started to sink in. It's sickening to think that he's served our country in Afghanistan and then he comes home and this happens to him on our streets. I can't imagine what his family are going through."

Jackie Harrison, 48, of Windermere Lane, said: "He was such a nice young man who always seemed to have his head screwed on. It's so tragic.

"It's sent shock waves around the whole community."

A pal who said he knew Lee from his time at Queen Elizabeth High School said: "He was a funny guy. He'll be really missed." Rev Miller officiated when Drummer Rigby's mum Lyn wed stepdad Ian seven years ago at the church. …

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