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British Soldier Lee Rigby Funeral: 2-year-old Son Tribute to 'My Daddy My Hero'

( [email protected] ) Jul 12, 2013 08:36 AM EDT

British Prime Minister David Cameron and thousands of mourners have attended the military funeral of Fusilier Lee Rigby at Bury Parish Church in Greater Manchester.

Lee Rigby, 25, was hacked to death in broad daylight by alleged Islamic extremists. He was killed outside his barracks on a London street in May.

His family had asked his funeral to be a celebration of his life. The soldier's wife, Rebecca, walked into the church with their two-year-old son, Jack, who was wearing a blue T-shirt with the words "My Daddy My Hero" on the back. Rigby's parents and sisters were in tears.

Fusilier Drummer Lee Rigby's son Jack and wife Rebecca (Photo: Paul Grover/GETTY)

They were joined by Fusilier Rigby’s mother Lyn, 46, who was in tears as she held hands with husband, Ian, 54, the soldier's stepfather.

As thousands of people gathered to pay tribute to the murdered soldier, the service was littered with tales of his sense of humor, good nature and love of his family.

Rigby's commanding officer, Lt. Col. Jim Taylor, described the soldier as a “hero”, a “talented soldier”, and a “loyal friend and brother-in-arms”.

But he was also a practical joker with a love of boybands and had about him a “natural swagger”.

"He was always happy. His smile was infectious, as was his enthusiasm for soldiering and his passion for life," he said.

Military chaplain the Reverend Clare Callanan spoke of the impact of the soldier's death on the "hearts and minds of family, of friends and of a nation".

She said it was an event which had caused "outrage, horror, anger" but had also shown "the courage of individuals" and brought faiths together.

Rebecca Rigby had earlier expressed gratitude for the "overwhelming" outpouring of support following the attack.

"There are so many kind and generous people out there," she said in a pool interview ahead of the funeral. "It's just horrible that it takes something such as this to make you see how many good people there are."

Fusilier Rigby joined the Army in 2006, at the third attempt. Volunteering to become a member of the Corps of Drums of the 2nd Battalion, he rose to become regarded as the best drummer in the Battalion.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, from Romford, east London, and Michael Adebowale, 22, from Greenwich, south-east London, are accused of Fusilier Rigby's murder. They are due to stand trial starting Nov. 18.