'All he ever wanted was to be in the army, to live life and enjoy himself'
Published 24/05/2013 | 05:00
Drummer Lee Rigby was a loving father who only ever wanted to be a soldier and "live life and enjoy himself", his family said.
The 25-year-old, from Manchester, was walking towards the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south-east London, on Wednesday when he was run down by a car and murdered by two terrorists.
A moving tribute from his family described how he was always there to protect his loved ones and played the "big brother" role to his sisters.
Since childhood, all he had wanted to do was to be in the army, it added.
Former colleagues also paid tribute to Mr Rigby as a "true warrior" who had served with distinction in Afghanistan.
He was estranged from his wife of six years, Rebecca Metcalfe, and leaves a two-year-old son, Jack.
A statement on behalf of his family said: "Lee was lovely. He would do anything for anybody, he always looked after his sisters and always protected them. He took a 'big brother' role with everyone.
"All he wanted to do, from when he was a little boy, was to be in the army. He wanted to live life and enjoy himself. His family meant everything to him. He was a loving son, husband, father, brother and uncle.
"We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time."
Mr Rigby's colleagues described him as one of the "great characters". Lieutenant Colonel Jim Taylor led tributes to the "dedicated and professional soldier".
"He was a real character. Larger than life. An experienced and talented side drummer and machine gunner, he was a true warrior and served with distinction in Afghanistan, Germany and Cyprus," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)