Release date: July 09, 2021
Lee Rigby Memorial Ride in 2019
Bikers and scooter riders will come together again on Sunday 11 July to commemorate Middleton soldiers Lee Rigby and Scott Hetherington and the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena bombing.
The memorial drive was first organized in honor of 25-year-old Fusilier Rigby after he was brutally murdered on May 22, 2013 outside the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south London.
His killers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, were sentenced to life in prison in December 2013 after they were found guilty of his murder.
The annual ride started just a week after Lee’s tragic death by Gavin Vitler in 2013 and usually takes place on the Saturday in May, which is the closest day the fusilier died. The trip has been postponed over the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gavin said, âAfter the first event, I decided that this had to be an annual event to remember another boy from Middleton. Then, working with a great team of volunteers, we added a memorial for Scott Hetherington, another Middleton soldier, and recently added âthe memorial to the victims of the Manchester bombing.
“We do this to remember loved ones, and no matter what, people will come together in common grief and support for families.”
Deviating from the usual starting point of Rochdale Town Hall, which is closed for renovation work, the commemorative drive this weekend starts from Rochdale Sports Club – Bridgefold Road, Rochdale OL11 5BX.
Participants are encouraged to assemble at 9am on Sunday so that the convoy can depart at 11am.
Drivers travel through Heywood to Bowlee in Middleton and Limefield Park and stop to pay their respects with a minute’s silence at the Lee Rigby Memorial in Middleton Memorial Gardens.
The convoy will then head to the Manchester Arena bombing memorial in Victoria Station, where there will be another minute of silence.
The organizers have said that the ride is a learning-friendly route for all motorcycles and scooters.
The attack on the Manchester Arena occurred on the fourth anniversary of Fusilier Rigby’s death, May 22, 2017, and killed 22 innocent people in the Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande concert. Almost 1,000 citizens were injured in the terrorist attack.
Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington, 22, of The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment’s 2nd Battalion, died on January 2, 2017 after a tragic accident in the city of Taji, northwest of Baghdad, Iraq.
The Middleton soldier was buried with full military honors in Boarshaw Cemetery.
Sunday’s commemoration drive marks the eighth anniversary of Fusilier Lee Rigby’s death and the fourth anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing.
The money raised from the trip will go to the Lee Rigby Foundation (Registered Charity No. 1166794), which provides a support network for military families.
At the starting point (Rochdale Sports Club) there will be a truck christening on Sunday at 10.30 a.m. in memory of Fusilier Rigby, before the convoy leaves at 11.00 a.m. A class 1 truck training vehicle from Veterans in Logistics is named in memory of the fallen soldiers.
Attending the naming ceremony are Lee’s family, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, Rochdale Mayor, Alderman Aasim Rashid, along with Rep. Chris Clarkson and other dignitaries.
The training vehicle is intended to train unemployed former military personnel to become truck drivers and to start their careers.