Woolwich attack: Drummer Lee Rigby was 'loving father'

Drummer Lee Rigby Drummer Lee Rigby was known as "Riggers" to his friends

Drummer Lee Rigby - the soldier killed close to Woolwich Barracks, in south-east London - was "a bubbly character" and "loving father", the MoD has said.

The 25-year-old, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, had been in the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers since 2006.

Neighbours on the Langley Estate, where he grew up, spoke of their "shock" and "disbelief" at his death and talked of a "wonderful lad".

One thought Drummer Rigby was due to return home soon to see his mother.

Neighbour Andy Grimshaw, who lived a few doors away from the soldier's family, said: "I cannot believe it, I know Lee, he knows my daughter."

The Manchester United fan, who was born in Crumpsall, Manchester, had a two-year-old son called Jack.

'Highly popular'

Sgt Maj Ned Millar said: "He was one of the Battalion's great characters - always smiling and always ready to brighten the mood with his fellow Fusiliers."

Sgt Barry Ward, Drum Major Second Fusiliers, said: "Drummer Rigby was a loving father, with a very bubbly character. He was an excellent drummer, loved his job and was a highly popular member of the platoon."

Known as "Riggers" to his friends, he was selected to be a member of the Corps of Drums and posted to the Second Fusiliers Regiment.

Floral tributes have been left at the barracks with messages of sympathy for the soldier and his family.

The regiment, which is based in Cyprus and London, has served in every major campaign dating back to 1674, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2009.

The unit took part in operations in Helmand province with seven members of the battalion being killed during their deployment.

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