1. ITV Report

'He was the life and soul of the party': Friends remember Lee Rigby

Friends have paid tribute to Fusilier Lee Rigby Photo: PA Images

He was the joker, the charmer, the one guaranteed to make you smile - just some of the descriptions of Lee Rigby by those who knew him best.

When the fusilier was brutally murdered on a London street, most people saw just his face. A face now synonymous with terror. But they didn't know the real person.

When I was tasked to do a tribute on Lee for our special programme on Granada Reports, I wanted to find out who he was, what he was like, what made him tick.

Speaking to his family, his friends from home, and his friends from the army, it was incredible how each one painted the same picture.

"He was the life and soul of the party really. I don't think anyone ever had a bad word against him - everyone loved him. He was one of a kind really." Sean Hyndman (friend from home)

"He was very much a practical joker, probably one of the biggest I'd met." Captain Sean Smith (from the 2nd Battalion of Fusiliers)

"You could always look to Lee to be doing silly but it would just make you laugh." Ryan Hyndman (friend from home)

In such a short period of time, he was just 25, Lee Rigby touched so many people's lives. He only ever wanted to join the army. He loved what he did and he was good at it.

But he also knew how to have fun, and his positivity rubbed off on those he met. One fellow soldier told us how he went to a school one day to talk about the army and the children were mesmerised by him, they loved him.

From the conversations I've had with his family and friends, they all agree that Lee was very much a big kid himself. He loved to have fun.

He was engaged to be married to Aimee who he'd met in the army. And of course he had a young son from his previous marriage who he adored.

His family and his friends will never forget the man they knew as 'Riggers'. His life was taken so tragically, but perhaps his family can take comfort in the knowledge that their 'amazing' and 'one of a kind' Lee, will now be remembered and admired by hundreds, thousands, millions of people who he never even met.

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