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Lee Rigby's mother joins last push to save Fusiliers
THE mother of Fusilier Lee Rigby will be among hundreds of supporters heading to Whitehall next week for one final ‘big push’ to save the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers from the military scrapheap.
Two coachloads of people, comprising a total of 92 veterans and Fusilier family members, will set off from Bury to London for the protest march next Tuesday.
Six representatives, including Drummer Lee Rigby’s mother Lyn, will visit Downing Street to hand in a petition calling for the decision to disband 2RRF be overturned.
Drummer Rigby, who was a member of the battalion, was killed in London in May.
Campaigners acknowledge that next week’s march and rally could be their final battle in their bid to save the 2RRF as its soldiers could be transferred to other regiments as early as November.
Last year, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced controversial plans to axe 2RRF, an armoured infantry unit of 600 soldiers. It is one of the casualties of the Army 2020 plan, the biggest restructuring of the service for decades.
The threat to 2RRF generated and galvanised a UK-wide campaign by former Fusiliers, MPs and other supporters to prevent the battalion from being consigned to history.
In Bury, regarded as the spiritual home of 2RRF, thousands of people have supported the campaign by signing petitions.
Under the plans, 20,000 regular soldiers will be axed and 30,000 reservists recruited to fill the vacuum. Supporters of 2RRF say the regiment, which has an excellent recruitment record, is being cut at the expense of some Scottish regiments with poorer recruitment figures. And they also say there is uncertainty as to whether reservists can plug the gap.
Last October, nearly 500 protestors took part in a similar march in London and organisers hope the latest demonstration will force the Government to reconsider.
Former Fusilier Dennis Laverick, from Bury, runs the Fusiliers Association website, and is among those going to London. Also travelling will be fellow supporters from Bury and other areas of Greater Manchester.
Mr Laverick said: “We hope the march will end in a change to the decision. We will not be giving up until it’s all over. This is one of the final pushes. We realise there is a lot of support out there. We want to know why the 2RRF was picked when it wasn’t on the original list.”
Demonstrators will assemble close to the Ministry of Defence before a six-strong delegation delivers a petition to Downing Street. Later, there will be march to Parliament.
n Places are still available on the coaches: contact Mr Laverick on 0161 761 6881.
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