We live in a small town called Middleton. With a population of around 50,000 it is made up of several different areas, Alkrington, Boarshaw, Middleton Junction, Langley and Rhodes. Like most places there is wealth and there is poverty, there is good and there is bad.
I expect Middleton Town Centre is probably like a lot of others these days. We have a small shopping centre, a huge TESCO, a McDonalds and that's about it. If we want anything more exciting like fashion, the cinema, a bowling alley or restaurants we go to Bury or Manchester.
We do have history though. We have some lovely buildings dating back to the 1500's and according to wiki several persons of historical interest were born here including politicians and scientists. We can also claim our fair share of famous bands, singers and comedians.
Nothing much really happens in Middleton. People go about their business and generally get on with what they have to do. We are salt of the earth, loud, tell it as it is, always ready for a laugh, kind of people.
But for the last couple of weeks Middleton has been a very subdued town, because it's here that Lee Rigby lived, the young soldier whose name everybody now knows.
Today is my Mum's birthday. For the first time in 2 weeks I went into Middleton to buy her some flowers. Just outside the shopping centre in 'Middleton Gardens' there are hundreds of flowers, messages, football shirts and even more touchingly, McDonalds toys left by children in memory of Lee.
For somebody who doesn't do public displays of emotion, I'm not ashamed to say it made me cry. It is an emotional sight and I can't imagine anybody not being moved by it.
Lee Rigby, 1987-2013
Middleton Gardens 06/06/13