Vicar recalls Drummer Lee Rigby battling with nerves on poignant day

Lee James Rigby and Rebecca Metcalfe on their wedding day. Photo: RossParry
Lee James Rigby and Rebecca Metcalfe on their wedding day. Photo: RossParry
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The vicar who conducted the wedding ceremony of Drummer Lee Rigby and his Yorkshire bride has spoken of his sorrow at the young soldier’s death.

Father Guy Jamieson, who married Drummer Rigby and Rebecca Metcalfe at St Anne-in-the-Grove Church in Southowram, near Halifax, said he remembered the day well, as the weddings of servicemen and women were always “particularly poignant”.

“They give their lives to each other in marriage and you can’t help but be mindful of the military part – whether he will or will not come back,” he said.

“You are particularly mindful about the spouses’ feelings, usually the bride, because you hear so much about those who lose their lives in conflicts at the moment.

“She must wonder whether he will be another victim when the time comes for him to go away.”

But the “barbaric quality” of the Woolwich attack and “the fact it was so public” had brought it closer to home, he said.

“We hear a lot about military tragedies overseas but the fact that it was in the street, in a city, makes it more horrific,” he added.

“There is certainly a sense of brutality in the way in which his life came to an end that leaves you shuddering.”

Drummer Rigby, then 20, was “not untypical of a groom” when the couple came to him during their marriage preparations, Fr Jamieson recalled.

He showed a little “nervous apprehension” but was looking forward to the day, in September 2007, and seemed “very involved” in planning it, he added.

“He had already spoken to the chaplain at Catterick and came to me well prepared with lots of questions,” he said.

“The wedding day was wonderful, as all weddings are.”

It is understood the couple, who have a two-year-old son, Jack, had separated.

Fr Jamieson extended his condolences to Drummer Rigby’s loved ones on behalf of the parish.

“Everyone will no doubt feel a lump in their throat at this news,” he said. “I’d like to extend the sorrow of the people of St Anne’s to his immediate family, friends and military colleagues.”