Lee Rigby House Opens Its Doors To Terrorism Victims

The fusilier was killed outside Woolwich Barracks by two Islamic extremists, and the veterans' retreat was set up in his name last year.

Cover photo courtesy of Harry Szymanski

A veterans' retreat set up in memory of a murdered serviceman has opened its doors to civilian families affected by terrorism in the UK.

Fusilier Lee Rigby was killed outside Woolwich Barracks in south-east London by two Islamist extremists on 22 May 2013.

His mother, Lyn, opened the Lee Rigby House in October 2017.

The fifth anniversary, which occurs on the same day of the Manchester Arena terror attack first anniversary, inspired an important decision for the organisation.

On the Facebook page of the Lee Rigby Foundation, a message of condolences to all the victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack was posted: 

"Today - May 22nd - is a traumatic day for the Rigby family – it's the day when Lee was tragically killed on his way to his barracks in Woolwich.

"However, May 22nd is also the first anniversary of the Manchester bombing - a truly devastating event that damaged and altered so many lives. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by that atrocity.

"In the last year, we have got to know some of the families whose lives were shaken by those tragic events and it has influenced us at the Lee Rigby Foundation to make an important change to our remit.

"From now on, The Lee Rigby Foundation will open the doors of Lee Rigby House to victims (and their families) of domestic terrorism and provide support where we can.

"Whilst the pain is still felt by many of us especially on this day, we believe that Lee's life has come to represent hope and compassion and we will continue to strive to make a difference."

The House, set up by the Lee Rigby Foundation, has so far been used as a retreat for veterans and service families, and it houses seven people at a time.

Lee's mother, Lyn Rigby, admitted she fell into a "deep, dark hole" as she struggled to come to terms with her son's murder.

Speaking to MailOnline on the eve of the anniversary, she said: "At times I've fallen into a deep, dark hole and been unable to climb out. 

"I've even thought of taking my own life. But when the chance was offered of running this home as a legacy to Lee it changed my life, and my family's. I'm in a much better place now, it's a big step forward."

Fusilier Rigby was killed outside his barracks by two Islamist extremists while off duty on May 22, 2013.

They knocked him down with a car and hacked him to death with a meat cleaver and knives.

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, were sentenced to life in prison in December 2013 after being found guilty.

They said they had murdered the 25-year-old in revenge for British forces killing Muslims abroad and claimed they wanted police to kill them after the murder.

His mother said the drummer and machine-gunner with the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers had wanted to be a soldier from the age of five.

He was 19 when he joined his regiment in 2006 and had served in Afghanistan.