Shellshocked community in Birstall attends moving vigil in memory of MP Jo Cox

Mourners attending a vigil for MP Jo Cox at St Peter's Church, Birstall.

Mourners attending a vigil for MP Jo Cox at St Peter's Church, Birstall.

SHELLSHOCKED residents in Birstall joined together after a day of almost unimaginable horror on their doorsteps.

More than 300 people gathered from 8pm at St Peter’s Church on Kirkgate, only a short walk from the spot where Jo Cox was fatally attacked.

MP for Wakefield Mary Creagh (right) attending the vigil.

MP for Wakefield Mary Creagh (right) attending the vigil.

Young and old and from different religious backgrounds, they came to remember Mrs Cox and mourn her devastating loss but also to find solace in their faith and one another’s company.

Those at the church included Labour MPs Yvette Cooper, Rachel Reeves, Dan Jarvis and Caroline Flint as well as the leader of Leeds City Council, coun Judith Blake, and Leeds councillor Alison Lowe.

They listened as the Vicar of Birstall, Rev Paul Knight, said the day’s numbing events were a reminder of the “fragility of civilisation”.

But he said that, even in times of despair, it should be remembered that “there is no escape from the love and mercy of God”.

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A candle was lit and prayers were said while there were also periods of quiet, solemn reflection.

The Rev Knight recited Psalm 23, The Lord Is My Shepherd, before leading the church in the singing of Lord Hear My Prayer.

The Bishop of Huddersfield, the Right Reverend Jonathan Gibbs, said people had been left “overwhelmed by shock, grief and a sense of loss”.

He went on: “We are here for each other and I know and I hope and I pray that we will be here for each other in the days ahead.”

Flowers and candles at Parliament Square opposite the Palace of Westminster in London. Pic: PA.

Flowers and candles at Parliament Square opposite the Palace of Westminster in London. Pic: PA.

Prayers for Mrs Cox were also said at Wakefield Cathedral, Halifax Minster and All Saints Church in Batley.

A touching image of a single candle had earlier been posted on All Saints Church’s Twitter account with the hashtag #PrayForJoCox.

The church also tweeted: “One of our own. Praying for her memory & family. Our doors are open if you need us. Awful day.”

Another vigil was held at Ms Cox’s home in London.

Houseboat owners on the same jetty brought flowers to lay on the boat where the MP lived with her husband and children.

The close-knit community of boat owners along the River Thames paid a nautical tribute, as boats berthed in Wapping by Tower Bridge blasted their horns for a full two-minute tribute.

As the horns rang out, neighbours stood solemnly by their boats whilst some laid flowers onto the deck of the houseboat.

Anne, the chairman of Hermitage Moorings where Jo lived, said: “Today is the saddest day of this close community.

“We have lost a dear, dear friend in the most tragic and outrageous circumstances.

“We pay tribute to our amazing, wonderful and spirited member of this community.

“A beacon of hope who believed in love, friendship and values that we all so much need at this time.

“The community will continue to be inspired by her relentless energy and commitment to all that is good.

“Our thoughts go to her husband Brendan and her two wonderful children.”

Flowers have also been laid outside the Houses of Parliament, where an impromptu vigil was held earlier today.