Help for Heroes has said it will reject all donations linked to members of the English Defence League in the wake of Drummer Lee Rigby’s murder in Woolwich last week.
Members of the far-right organisation chanted Drummer Rigby’s name during a protest at Downing Street yesterday, with its leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, pledging to donate all money raised by a future sponsored march to the charity.
A Just Giving donation page was subsequently set up by the EDL leader, but that has since been closed down following conversations between Help for Heroes and the website’s administrators.
Over £3,300 had been pledged to the page before it was removed, much of that money coming after Robinson’s announcement of a sponsored 17-mile, English Defence League-affiliated walk from Westminster to the scene of Drummer Rigby’s murder in Woolwich.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sunrise programme, Help for Heroes founder Bryn Parry said: “We are a non-political organisation and we do not knowingly accept any money from any organisation that could be considered extreme.”
In a separate announcement, Help for Heroes said the aforementioned donations would be refunded, adding the charity will be carrying out further checks to ensure it is not receiving money from other people or groups linked to the English Defence League.
Mr Yaxley-Lennon said he was “saddened and gutted” by Help for Heroes decision to reject EDL-linked donations but said he would complete his “protest walk” regardless.
He told Sky News: I'm shocked that political correctness has managed to find its way to the top of one of our armed forces charities.“
Drummer Rigby was wearing a Help for Heroes t-shirt when he was brutally murdered, and the charity has been flooded with donations in the week since he was killed.
Two suspects, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, remain under arrest at separate London hospitals after being shot by police at the scene where Drummer Rigby was hit by a car before being stabbed and hacked to death with knives and meat cleavers.
A total of 10 people have now been arrested and questioned by police over the killing.