Hundreds of people have lined the streets to pay their respects to murdered soldier Lee Rigby on the eve of his funeral.

The cortege carrying the body of the 25-year-old was driven through Bury in Greater Manchester before being taken to Bury parish church.

Bandmates from the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers "drummed" the cortege along the route to the church.

The soldier, a father of one who has served a tour of duty in Afghanistan, was killed in broad daylight in a Woolwich street in south London in May.

His family attended a private vigil inside the church. Forty soldiers were set to keep a guard of honour overnight ahead of the funeral.

Before their vigil, the family of the 25-year-old from Middleton thanked the public for their overwhelming support.

Rebecca Rigby (C), the wife of Fusilier Lee Rigby, and son Jack, arrive for a vigil at the Parish Church in Bury (Reuters)
Rebecca Rigby (C), the wife of Fusilier Lee Rigby, and son Jack, arrive for a vigil at the parish church in Bury (Reuters)

Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament: "We should all pay tribute to Drummer Lee Rigby for his service to our country.

"We should also pay tribute to his family, to all the pain and difficulty that they are going through. I am sure it will be a very fitting service, a very moving service, and the whole country will be mourning with them."

Hundreds of people were expected to attend the service, which will be broadcast through loudspeakers to crowds expected outside the church. His family have requested a full military funeral and a private committal.

A book of condolence has been opened for signing at The Fusilier Museum in Bury.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, have been charged with the murder of Rigby and are due to stand trial at the Old Bailey on 18 November.

Adebolajo is also accused of the attempted murder of two police officers and possession of a firearm with intent to cause others to believe that violence would be used.

They will both appear next in court for a plea and case management hearing on 27 September.