Lee Rigby House to open in September
TRADESMEN from across the UK have flooded into a secluded corner of Staffordshire to help create a place of sanctuary for bereaved military families.
The Lee Rigby House, in Farley Lane, Oakamoor, is part of a charitable foundation set up by Lyn Rigby in memory of her son, Lee, who was cruelly murdered outside Woolwich Barracks in 2013.
The house has been extended and undergone a huge refurbishment, but trustees feared the project would not be complete in time for the first families to use the facility in September.
A social media appeal by blind supplier and fitter, Keith Lawson, prompted a deluge of support from across the building trades and volunteers have since arrived en-masse over several weekends to get the project finished in plenty of time.
Supported by the Kendo Nagasaki Foundation, the Lee Rigby Foundation will offer the house to families who have lost a loved one in military service.
Set in the stunning grounds of Moor Court estate – the former family home of Thomas Bolton – the house is in a peaceful and serene setting, adjacent to the beautiful main house which is a popular meditation and empowerment retreat.
An annexe to the main house is also due to be converted into a safe place for military veterans who need time and space where they can be alone or socialise with others facing the same difficulties.
The Lee Rigby Lodge is another project in the pipeline which will eventually offer breaks for military veterans and their families.
Yvonne Walker is a trustee of the Lee Rigby Foundation and has been an integral part of the Moor Court estate for almost 30 years.
She said: “When I first met Lyn, she had come here for a day to get away and just fell in love with the place.
“We walked around and at the back of the house is a lodge and she burst into tears and said this was where she wanted to have the first Lee Rigby Lodge.
“When Keith put the appeal on Facebook it just went viral – it went absolutely ballistic. We had more than 4,000 emails offering help.
“It’s meant that we can now look at starting the annexe much sooner than we thought.
“They have been and made a huge difference and will be back again this weekend.
“Businesses have been giving the volunteers free accommodation while they’ve been working on the house and we’d just like to thank them all for their support.
“We’ve had veterans and families here to help shape what we are doing and when we’ve met with them, they have said they needed something like this at the time, where all the family can come together in peace and grieve.
“This project helps Lyn. She is keeping Lee’s memory alive and it’s something he would have wanted.”
The foundation is now hoping to source settees and chests of drawers for the house ahead of hosting its first families in September.
We are the only family run, independent newspaper and magazine business in Staffordshire, established 1896. We are home to three weekly newspapers – The Cheadle and Tean Times (aka The Stunner), The Uttoxeter Echo and The Blythe and Forsbrook Times.
We also produce Peeps into the Past, a bi-monthly nostalgic glimpse into our photographic archives, and three bi-monthly glossy lifestyle magazines – Stone and Eccleshall Life, Leek Life and Newcastle Life.
T. 01538 752214 or 753162
18 Tape Street, Cheadle, Staffs ST10 1BD
T. 01889 562479
5 Church Street, Uttoxeter, Staffs ST14 8AG (Uttoxeter Office is a postal address only) CURRENT OPENING TIMES
Mon & Tues 9am-11am