An unofficial memorial to Fusilier Lee Rigby has been removed from the spot where he was killed, after local residents complained that it looked ‘unsightly’.
The memorial was erected in Woolwich, South London, with an array of flags and flowers forming the tribute to Rigby after he was killed by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale in May 2013.
But it has now been removed by Greenwich Council after local residents complained – with the move sparking swift condemnation from the founders of a GoFundMe page that was funded for the memorial’s upkeep.
‘Greenwich council have today removed everything that was at the site in memory of Lee, as soon as we get some of the donated money in the bank these will be replaced’, organiser Danny Taylor wrote.
‘But no, let’s blame it on the nearby school, how about educating the school kids that probably witnessed what occurred there’, he added.
Greenwich Council has since justified their decision – and claimed that the move was supported by both local residents and the family of Fusilier Rigby.
‘The unofficial memorial to Fusilier Lee Rigby was removed on 17 January following requests from local residents and we are also aware of the fact there is a nearby school whose pupils have to walk past this every morning and every evening’, a Greenwich Council spokesperson confirmed.
‘We are acting now because the number of items has expanded significantly in recent months and any have been weathered, worn and look unsightly.
‘Residents of Elliston House were invited to share their views and we believe that the residents should not have to live under such conditions going forward.
‘The council has spoken to Lee’s widow and mother ahead of the removal to make them aware, and they are sympathetic. We have also consulted with the Army and Police.
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‘The items were removed carefully and packed away for the family to collect if they wish.’
The statement added: ‘The brutal murder of Lee Rigby will be remembered by all of us; he remains in our hearts and minds.
‘We understand that people want to pay their respects and so Royal Greenwich created two official memorials to honour not only Lee, but all of those who served or lived in the Royal Borough and sacrificed their lives for our country since 1945.
‘There is a memorial plaque in nearby St George’s Chapel and a book of remembrance at Woolwich Town Hall, along with an online version. Together these memorials create a lasting legacy.’