An ONLINE petition calling for three women dubbed the “Angels of Woolwich” to be awarded bravery medals for their actions following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby has collected nearly 60,000 signatures.
The campaign, started by the rector of Woolwich, the Rev Jesse van der Valk, on campaign website Change.org, was launched on Friday and has since been shared widely on social networking sites.
The petition calls for the George Medal – awarded to civilians for acts of bravery – to be given to Amanda Donnelly and her daughter Gemma Donnelly-Martin, who insisted on being allowed to sit with Drummer Rigby after his body had been dragged into the middle of the road.
The petition calls for the same honour for 48-year-old Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, from Helston, Cornwall, who calmly spoke to one of Drummer Rigby’s alleged attackers as he stood with bloodied hands still clutching a weapon.
Mr van der Valk’s church, St Mary Magdalene, in Woolwich, was a focus of prayer and reflection following the killing of the father-of-one near Woolwich Barracks on 22 May.
He said: “It’s an incredible outpouring of support for the heroic acts of these three women who stood up to be counted in a very dangerous situation.
“These acts of extraordinary humanity in the face of such horror deserve to be recognised at the highest level.”
Sunder Katwala from the think-tank British Future, backed the calls.
“These women demonstrated exemplary courage. We should amplify their quiet voices, which represented the best of our country, rather than the shocking hatred of its unrepresentative worst.”