VOLUNTEERS took to the streets to hand out roses as symbols of peace following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.

Representatives from Connect UK and New Muslims Lancashire gave out more than 650 roses on Saturday morning in the Church Street area of Blackburn.

In Nelson, Inspiring Grace, a predominantly Muslim organisation, distributed the flowers to members of the public.

Coun Salim Sidat, who represents Audley and is Connect UK chairman, said: “It went fantastically well. We thought we might get the odd problem, but everyone was brilliant and it gives us so much encouragement to have such a welcome response. A lot of our volunteers were new converts to Islam and they were really well received.”

A New Muslims Lancashire spokesman said: “We want to spread a message of peace, love and humanity to all the people of Lancashire.”

Inspiring Grace chairman Tahir Anwar said the group represented the ‘silent majority’ of followers of Islam who were disgusted by the murder of Drummer Rigby in Woolwich on May 22.

He said: “We were due to hold a similar event long before what happened in Woolwich, but it was delayed until next year. After seeing what happened we decided to go ahead and show the genuine, authentic message of Islam which is one of peace.

“We had a few people that looked more perplexed than anything, but everyone was really nice.”


AROUND 40 members of the public gathered in Darwen to lay flowers in memory of Drummer Lee Rigby.

The event, at the War Memorial in Bold Venture Park yesterday, was widely publicised by the English Defence League (EDL) on its social media accounts.

More than a dozen bouquets of flowers were laid at the memorial, along with a Union Flag.

Organisers Shane Calvert – nicknamed Diddyman – and Andrea Kay said the event had been arranged independently and Mr Calvert denied being a member of the EDL.

On his Facebook and Twitter pages, Mr Calvert, 31, of Shetland Close, Blackburn, is pictured alongside flags representing far-right groups including the EDL, the North West Infidels, the Scottish Defence League and the National Front.

He said: “Yesterday was about paying respect to Lee Rigby.

“I have been down to Woolwich and in Manchester to show my respects.”

At the end of a minute’s applause in honour of Drummer Rigby, one woman cried: “God bless Lee Rigby. God bless the British Army. God bless the monarchy.”

Police patrolled Belgrave Road outside the park as the event passed off peacefully.