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More than 60,000 call for bravery medals for 'Angels of Woolwich'

Amanda Donnelly, her daughter Gemini and Ingrid Loyau-Kennett have been lauded for their role in the aftermath of the attack on Drummer Lee Rigby

More than 60,000 people have signed an online petition recommending that the three women dubbed the “Angels of Woolwich” be awarded bravery medals for their interventions in the aftermath of Drummer Lee Rigby's killing.

Drummer Rigby was hacked to death last month outside the Woolwich Barracks.

Shortly after the attack, Amanda Donnelly and her daughter Gemini Donnelly-Martin comforted the dying soldier, while mother-of-two Ingrid Loyau-Kennett calmly spoke to the alleged attackers about why they did what they did.

The campaign, started by the rector of Woolwich, the Rev Jesse van der Valk, on campaign website Change.org, was launched on Friday, and asks that they receive the George Medal, which is awarded to civilians for acts of great bravery.

In the text of the petition, Mr Van der Valk wrote: "The fact that no other bystander was hurt in the incident is testament to the courageous actions of these women.

"As the Rector of Woolwich I saw how the tragedy hit this community hard, but the actions of Gemma, Amanda and Ingrid has been an inspiration to all of us. Instead of running away when they saw danger they went straight to the heart of it.

"The George Medal can be awarded to civilians for acts of great bravery. This is one of those acts.

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 May 22.

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."

Mr Van der Valk plans to deliver the petition either to the Ministry of Defence or Downing Street and is urging other faith and community leaders to back the call.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, and 22-year-old Michael Adebowale have both been charged with the murder of Lee Rigby.