Family says murder united country
The family of murdered soldier Lee Rigby has thanked the public for their "overwhelming support" ahead of his funeral, and said his death had united the country.
Fusilier Rigby's mother, stepfather and widow said good wishes had flooded in from around the globe and across all religions in the past seven weeks.
The 25-year-old had become "a hero" and the intentions of his killers had "backfired", said his stepfather Ian.
His wife Rebecca 30, said: "There are so many kind and generous people out there. It's just horrible that it takes something such as this to make you see how many good people there are."
Fusilier Rigby, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, was killed as he returned to Woolwich barracks from the Tower of London on May 22. His family gave an emotional press conference shortly after his death and have now spoken in public for the first time since as they reflected on the thousands of goodwill messages they have received.
Fighting back tears throughout her interview, Rebecca Rigby said: "We have had an awful lot of support from across the world. It has been overwhelming. We have had masses of cards, letters and donations from everywhere. It's unbelievable really the things that have been coming in. We have had letters from the Prime Minister, from senior politicians from all parties, the Duke of Kent, from the Sikh community. Various large mosques and interfaith groups have been in touch with letters of condolences and such."
His mother Lyn, 46, said: "We have received overwhelming support from the public, friends, family. We have had thousands of cards, with kind words. That basically has given us the strength to get through this time."
Ian Rigby, 54, said: "Everywhere we have been, people have been supporting us. They have been incredible with us. Total strangers. They have been absolutely incredible, coming up - not in your face but shaking hands and saying God Bless, that sort of thing. And they have really meant what they said to us.
"And it's the same in the community. The support in Middleton - it's a small place - but the support we have had off everybody has been incredible. At one stage for about three weeks we just had a garden full of flowers. We couldn't move in the garden. There were flowers everywhere. And the same in the town centre. It's still going now at the memorial. People are still putting flowers on it now. They just tidy it up a bit and take away the dead ones away and some more turned up... it just keeps on going and going. It's amazing."
Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, have been charged with the murder of Fusilier Rigby and are due to stand trial at the Old Bailey on November 18. They will appear at the same court for a plea and case management hearing on September 27.