Hartlepool father of missing Katrice Lee announces date for march on 10 Downing Street to hand back medals
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The Mail revealed in November how Richie Lee had decided to give away his medals in protest at the handling of the search for his daughter Katrice.
She disappeared on her second birthday on November 28, 1981, from a NAAFI supermarket in what was then West Germany where Richie was a serving warrant officer at the time.
The date for the march on Downing Street has now been announced as Friday, May 31.
And Richie will not be alone after scores of fellow forces veterans and supporters have rallied round to join him.
One, Ged Walton, this week set up an online crowdfunding page towards the travel costs to London and raised £940 in just three days.
Richie, of Hartlepool, said: “It came to me as a total surprise. The word has gone out and there’s loads of people going to make their own way there from as far as Cornwall, the Isle of White and the Outer Hebrides, in Scotland.
"I have thanked the guys for what they’re doing.”
On the GoFundMe page, Ged, who was in the same regiment as Richie, said: “Richie has battled sometimes alone for justice for his daughter and to receive withheld information in regards to Katrice’s disappearance.”
The page is trying to raise £1,600 for the cost of the coach to London. One of the driver’s has pledged to give up his wage for the day.
Richie added: “It has blown me away.”
The band of supporters will march with him wearing t-shirts with Katrice’s picture on to the gates of Downing Street.
He will then enter alone to hand back his Northern Ireland general service medal and 30-year service and good conduct with bar, plus a petition.
In 2012, The Royal Military Police admitted that the initial investigation was “flawed” and made 40 recommendations.
But Richie says he and his family have been let down numerous times since the very beginning and want a public inquiry.
He added: “The Hillsborough and Post Office scandals have shown that what’s written down in the past is not necessarily the truth.”
To support the fundraiser see www.gofundme.com/f/the-girl-in-the-red-dress