Schoolboy son of murdered Lee Rigby raised more than £54,000 in memory of his soldier dad.
Jack was just two when 25-year-old Lee, of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was murdered by terrorists outside his barracks in Woolwich, South East London, on May 22, 2013. The youngster, now 13, set out to raise money for military bereavement charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers by walking 26.2 miles during May to mark the 10-year anniversary of his dad’s murder.
Quickly exceeding an initial goal of £250, Jack and his mum Rebecca soon raised the target to £1,000, and later to £10,000, with the aim of raising £1,000 for every year since soldier Lee’s death. But time and again, Jack exceeded expectations. To date, the schoolboy has raised more £54,000 for the charity, which has supported him and his family since the tragedy.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers was founded in 2010 by Nikki Scott after her husband, also called Lee, was killed in action in Afghanistan. The charity supports children who have lost a parent in the armed forces with educational and wellbeing support, respite breaks, Christmas and birthday gifts and events where they can spend time with other children like them.
Jack decided to get involved in fundraising for the charity earlier this year by taking part in the organisation’s popular May Marathon event. Joined by mum Rebecca and cockapoo dogs Teddy and Scotty, named in honour of the charity, Jack completed the marathon challenge around his hometown of Halifax, West Yorks.
In total they completed more than 10 walks through the course of the month – covering even more distance than they’d originally set out to do.
Rebecca says: “Jack heard that the event was coming up, which also coincided with the 10th anniversary of his father’s death so he suggested we do it in Lee’s memory. We decided we’d give it a go and see how we got on.
“The walks were lovely. We’d pack the car up and start the walking app as we set off. By the end of May we’d clocked up more than 26.2 miles, but we really enjoyed that time together, so we just kept going. Meanwhile, we quickly surpassed one fundraising target after another. We never thought in a million years we’d hit £10,000, but the donations kept coming.”
“Jack is a quiet lad, but he’s also very determined. Once he sets his mind to something, he can be very focused and keeps working until he gets there. Scotty’s Little Soldiers has played a significant part in his life, and he’s got his heart set on doing what he can to say thank you to them, and to help other children facing the challenges he’s lived with for most of his life.
“I registered Jack with Scotty’s just months after his father’s murder when things were still incredibly raw, and ever since then the team has been a huge support, treating Jack just the same as every other child and providing a space where he can be himself.
“They create a wonderful atmosphere for all the young people involved, but it’s heartwrenching to think of all the tragedy that has brought these children together. I couldn’t be prouder of Jack given all that he’s been through, and I truly admire his determination to help other young people like him.”