We knew Jo Cox. We knew her well.
She was a bright, vivacious, sassy, sparkling woman with a vision to make the world a better place.
Anyone who met her could see she was made for great things. Intelligent, witty, full of plans, but with a razor-sharp and penetrating focus that meant she could cut through any jargon, waffle or business speak to reach the heart of the matter.
‘My brain never stops!’ she told one of our journalists during a meeting at her constituency office.
Everyone - her constituents, colleagues, support staff, indeed, anyone who spent time in her company - couldn’t fail to be impressed by this woman: a wife, mother, politician who was so energised and committed to her causes.
Our dismay today is absolute. And we know yours is too.
We plan not to dwell in this column on the circumstances surrounding her brutal, untimely death.
Instead we choose to celebrate and remember a life full of colour, wit, intelligence - and compassion.
We have lost, without doubt, one of the finest politicians of her generation. She could one day have been Prime Minister. But she was our Jo. She was born to help the less fortunate - and the outpouring of grief amongst her Batley & Spen constitutents, and politicians around the globe, spoke volumes about her impact on the world. A true politician of the people, she was equally at home championing all those community causes close to her heart or speaking with eloquence, insight and passion on the floor of the House of Commons.
She adored time with her family and was hugely proud that they all lived on a houseboat when in London.
After winning her seat, in her maiden speech in the House of Commons, she referred to her constituency having “some of the best fish and chip shops in the country, and some of the best curries in the world” before concluding: “I am Batley and Spen born and bred, and I could not be prouder of that. I am proud that I was made in Yorkshire and I am proud of the things we make in Yorkshire.”
We are proud of you too, Jo. The brave, courageous and heartfelt statement of her grief-stricken husband says many things - but his plea to unite against hatred is one we should all try to live by.
“She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now,” he writes. “One, that our precious children are bathed in love, and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her.” The wisest of words, spoken at the most difficult of times, they epitomise a daughter, mother, politician and humanitarian who truly strived to do her best for everyone she came across in her all too short life.