Far right continues to hijack Lee Rigby’s name with “memorial walks”

Matthew Collins - 22 05 14

Despite making a public plea for his name not to be taken in vain for political purposes, the family of Lee Rigby have had to put up with a series of indignities inflicted by Britain’s far right. These began almost immediately after he was murdered when EDL leader Tommy Robinson and his balaclava clad EDL thugs took to the streets of London in a bid to exploit his tragic death.

Nick Griffin then tried and failed to score political capital by attending Lee’s funeral service when, whilst his presence was noted, he was studiously ignored by those who gathered to pay their respects on the streets of Bury.

Most recently Jim Dowson and Paul Golding’s laughable but dangerous Britain First included the Fusilier’s name on its ballot papers. That prompted not just an apology from the Electoral Commission but also anguished outrage from Lee’s mother Lyn who wrote ‘Well yet again can any more heartbreak be thrown at me and my family so heartbroken tonight…..Their views are not what Lee believed in and has (sic) no support from the family.’

The first anniversary of Lee’s murder falls this weekend. It seems that more intolerable heartbreak is in store for the family. The far right, including some of its more violent and deranged members, are heavily involved a series of so-called memorial walks taking place across the country.

In Newcastle the organisers of one such event include local EDL headbanger Steve Hewitt and Alan Spence, who is also a BNP activist and last year received a seven month jail sentence following his role in a violent attack by EDL supporters at Tyneside Irish Centre. Each of the six event organisers listed is involved in far right politics.

Further south an event titled Huddersfield Unite 4 Lee Rigby, due to take place today (Thursday May 22nd) has been organised by Derek Hemphill in aid of Help for Heroes for whom he claims to be a registered fundraiser. The charity has on countless occasions stressed that it will neither associate with or take funds from the English Defence League or other far right groups. They may then not be too pleased to hear that Del Boy is not only active in the EDL but was nicked at its Rotherham demo earlier this month.

Derek, left, was hardly inconspicuous at the EDLs Rotherham to-do

Derek, left, was hardly inconspicuous at the EDLs Rotherham to-do

Across the Pennines the weekly outing for the nakedly Nazi North West Infidels, National Front and BNP hangers-on takes place in Manchester, again under the guise of a Lee Rigby memorial walk. The organisers, who are not readily identifiable, have met with Greater Manchester Police who have allegedly noted – contrary to the positioning of the event on Facebook – it is a far right demonstration. They also acknowledge that the Rigby family are aware of but not associated with this event.

The Facebook page also demonstrates at the very least that the event is a magnet for various well-known far right activists and that the organiser named, an ‘Andrea Stone’, is relaxed about known racists and fascists attending. She is less relaxed about those who point this out by deleting their posts. This is curious to say the least, especially given she subsequently enjoyed a friendly dialogue with a Blood & Honour fan trading under the name of Curlito Boss.

Then there is the guest list to Andrea’s supposedly respectful event. This includes NWI and BNP flagwaver Lacette Brooks, a woman so obsessed by swastikas she sleeps under one – with her BNP Yorkshire Euro candidate Steve Harrison. She’s certainly not alone in enjoying a fixation with Nazism as her fellow NWI member Sean Binks demonstrates.

Another NWI stalwart Kym Wench, a care worker exposed last year by the Daily Star for targeting her neighbours with racist abuse, is also planning to attend along with the National Front’s Jock Shearer – a convicted drug dealer – and Dave Kirby.

The event is also receiving a helping promotional hand from Peter Casual Laffin aka Peter Hawley of Blackburn. Hawley is fresh out of jail having been convicted of violent disorder. The ageing hooligan was among seven members of the NWI given custodials following an attack on anti-fascists in Liverpool.

The hijacking of Lee’s name against the express wishes of the family by various far right factions is depressingly predictable but no less outrageous because of that. It undermines the desire of ordinary British people of all political persuasions and beliefs who wish to respectfully remember a man whose brutal and senseless muder shocked the nation.

Our thoughts this weekend are with Lee’s family and friends.

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