A Hillmorton window blind fitter was just trying to the give the charity set up in memory of Lee Rigby a hand when he put a post on Facebook calling for more traders to finish a house for bereaved military families.
But what Keith Lawson did not know was his post about the Lee Rigby House in Staffordshire would go ‘super viral’, accruing more than 140,000 shares and countless offers from across the globe.
Thanks to the 56-year-old blind fitter, of The Kent, the Lee Rigby Foundation’s project will be finished on time with materials and tradesmen for future schemes too. “We gave it a bit of a push,” he said modestly.
“One thing I hope to come out of it is to raise the profile of the charity as many people know Lee Rigby but few people know about the charity.
“So I’d ask people to share the page and make it a major charity, that’s what I hope to come from it as the charity needs the donations to keep coming.”
Keith, an ex-serviceman himself, saw the foundation needed help and donated some blinds last Thursday.
Seeing it needed more workers, he said he would put an appeal out but ‘made no promises’.
Little did he know his post would lead to national news coverage for the charity and offers for work from the US to New Zealand.
Roz MacDonald, one of the foundation’s trustees, said it receives hundreds of messages every day and could not thank Keith enough.
“He’s donated his time but having put out this appeal as broadly as he has and given the huge response, he’s going to be our friend for life,” she said.
“What he’s done is so memorable and it’s going to be possible to finish the house on time.”
Fusilier Lee Rigby was murdered by two Islamist extremists near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, London, where he was stationed, in 2013.
His mother, Lyn Rigby, set up the foundation in his memory and is building a house for bereaved military families in Oakamoor, Staffordshire, as she felt she was not given enough support after her son’s death.
The charity also has plans to develop an annexe of Moor Court Hall near the house, which will house up to 13 veterans, and a nearby 20-bedroom derelict building for ex-servicemen and their families.
There have been so many donations and offers, that Roz is confident the charity will have enough to complete the three projects, it is just a case of organising it now.
“Facebook messages and emails are pouring in and phone calls too,” she said.
“You pop out for five minutes and there’s thousands of phone messages – it’s the right sort of problem to have but it’s a job keeping up.”
Keith refuses to take all the credit, saying the charity is doing a ‘fantastic’ job and said he was glad to have helped.
“I spoke to Lyn on the phone on Saturday and she said it’s given her a massive lift and I hope it has,” he said.
“However, if you look at it, all I did was put a post on Facebook, we all do it most days and it’s Lee Rigby’s name that’s carried it.
“I just tried to give them a little help.”