Yesterday, thousands of ex-Army veterans took part in a memorial ride for British hero Lee Rigby on Sunday, congregating at Woolwich for a memorial service to mark 10 years since his murder.
The soldier was savagely murdered in broad daylight by two jihadi extremists as he walked back to Woolwich Barracks in south east London on May 22, 2013, where he was based.
His mother, Lyn Rigby paid tribute last night to the those who tried to save his life and comfort him after he was attacked.
Amanda Donnelly, Tina Nimmo and Ingrid Loyau-Kennett all rushed to aid Fusilier Rigby, who was 25 at the time of his murder.
The tributes come after the soldier’s son, Jack, 12, raised £40,000 for charity to help other bereaved forces children and ‘in honour’ of his father.
Earlier this week it was revealed Jack was so shocked by his Royal Fusilier father’s sickening death when he was a toddler that he lost the ability to speak for months.
Mrs Rigby said: ‘The Angels of Woolwich stepped up for my son in a way I will never be able to repay’
Thousands of ex-Army veterans took part in a memorial ride for British hero Lee Rigby on Sunday
Rigby was killed by two jihadi extremists as he walked back to his barracks
They congregated in Woolwich before taking off on their tribute to the soldier
Tina Nimmo helped to shield the soldier from oncoming traffic after he was attacked
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett bravely stood up to the murderers
Mrs Donnelly comforted Rigby during his final moments, while Mrs Nimmo halted traffic to help to protect his body from being run over.
Last night she told The Mirror: ‘I’m a mum with children and no one should be left to die in the street in such an undignified manner.
‘It was a truly horrendous day. Witnessing something so violent is not something you can ever forget. But what I have suffered is nothing compared to what Lee’s family have been through.’
Mrs Rigby added: ‘I will be forever grateful that it was this remarkable woman who was with Lee at the end. Today we will celebrate Lee’s life 10 years on. He will never be forgotten, and neither will the amazing women who were there for him.’
French-born mother of two, Mrs Loyau-Kennett, bravely got off a nearby bus to confront the two killers for 10 minutes before police arrived, telling them their jihadi conflict had failed.
Mrs Rigby said: ‘The Angels of Woolwich stepped up for my son in a way I will never be able to repay.
‘It should have been me that was there to protect him, to comfort him in his last moments, but I knew nothing about Lee’s murder until later.’
‘These women are incredible and I will remain in their debt for the rest of my life. They put themselves in terrible danger because they wanted to help a stranger in need.
‘That takes enormous guts and it shows how very special they are.
Lee Rigby’s killers Michael Adebolajo (pictured left) and Michael Adebowale, both were found guilty of murder and given life sentences and a minimum of 45 years respectively
Rigby’s son, Jack, was so shocked by his father’s sickening death when he was a toddler that he lost the ability to speak for months
Jack, now 12, says exercise helps him to cope with the grief, and he is hoping to complete a marathon to raise the money for charity which helps bereaved children such as him
‘They all just rushed in on instinct – a mother’s instinct that drove them to protect a young man in desperate need. Their humanity is everything.’
Mrs Rigby also paid tribute to a former pub landlady, who sadly died on Friday after an illness, who displayed courage at the scene of the gruesome murder.
She said: ‘Tina was an exceptional woman, brave and fearless, and she became a good friend. The horror of that day really affected Tina yet she always said she would do the same again in a flash.
The landlady and her daughter, both from Woolwich, were among the first on the scene while the killers tried to behead Fusilier Rigby.
‘My heart goes out to her family at her sad loss, and I hope she rests in eternal peace.’