A football match fundraiser at Gigg Lane to mark 10 years after soldier Lee Rigby was murdered amassed close to £40,000 on what was a "very emotional day". 

The event on Saturday saw a "North West superstars" team go head-to-head with a Rangers Select side to raise money for the Lee Rigby Foundation.

The match, which featured boxer Liam Smith and former footballers Paul Merson and Ricky Lambert, was won convincingly by the North West side in a thumping 8-1 victory.

The charity was set up by Lyn and Ian Rigby, the parents of Lee, who was from Crumpsall, to help other families following the death of their son in London in 2013.

Bury Times: Lee Rigby Memorial Cup

Event organiser Liam Howarth said his goal for the decade anniversary was to make the fundraiser “bigger and better” than ever before.

He said: “It was a huge success, there were so many friendly faces and, although we had a few people doubt it could be, it was a brilliant family-friendly atmosphere, so it has been great to prove those people wrong too.

“Everyone was fantastic both before after and during the match, we really couldn’t have asked for anything more from the players or the fans.”

A total of £39,705 was raised for the foundation and Lyn said she was “so overwhelmed” by the support.

Bury Times: Lee Rigby Memorial Cup

Liam said: “It was an honour for me to walk Lyn onto the pitch to lay a wreath for Lee and start the game off, she is such an incredibly strong woman and it was a very emotional day.

“Next year, we are going to plan something even bigger and better once again.”

Bury Times: 'North West superstars' captain Dale 'Windy' Miller, who was Lee Rigby's best friend, and Liam Howarth'North West superstars' captain Dale 'Windy' Miller, who was Lee Rigby's best friend, and Liam Howarth (Image: Public)

Stuart Spensley, the owner of the Two Tubs pub in Bury, helped with the event too.

He said: “I served with Lee and I was very emotional at how everyone helped and behaved impeccably.

“I’d like to thank everyone who attended the game.

“It was a major success and everyone who attended had a great day and with no issues, it was both brilliant and memorable.”

Bury Times: Lee Rigby Memorial Cup

In a statement, a spokesperson from the foundation thanked everyone involved and dubbed the iconic Bury FC ground as an "immense" place to be.

They said: “Thank you to everyone who attended, the volunteers, servicemen and the fantastic Manchester Pipe band, all who worked at the ground, lending their help for free.

“Those who collected players at the airports, and those who fed thousands at the stadium.

Bury Times: Lee Rigby Memorial Cup

“To Jamie, his family, and all at Bury FC, Gigg Lane is immense.

“Your fans are immense and we will be eternally grateful for your hospitality, patience and perseverance.

'The whole town has come together': Excitement for Lee Rigby Memorial Cup in Bury

“To the Rangers FC family, what can we say, once again you have turned out.

“Travelling in your thousands from all over the world to help us keep Lee and his family legacy alive.

“How can we ever thank you?

"You really are special as are the Bury FC fans.

"Bury is back and we loved Gigg Lane. You can feel the history.

Football stars coming to Gigg Lane for Lee Rigby Memorial Cup

“To the players from both teams, leaving their homes in Europe, Scotland, Northern Ireland at stupid o’clock to make it to Gigg Lane, we do not have the words to suffice.

“But we hold you dear to everyone at the Lee Rigby Foundation. Thank you.

“We will keep these memories close to our hearts and will always remember 'penny arcade' along with the emotional chants, hearing Lee’s name shouted from the rooftops.

“We thank you all. Whether it be online or at Gigg Lane. We really felt the love.”

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