YEP Says: Word of hope as Jo’s family unite in their humanity

Jean Leadbeater, the mother of Labour MP Jo Cox, embraces her sister Kim Leadbeater while her father Gordon looks on, as they look at floral tributes left in Birstall.

Jean Leadbeater, the mother of Labour MP Jo Cox, embraces her sister Kim Leadbeater while her father Gordon looks on, as they look at floral tributes left in Birstall.

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THEY were tearful words that broke the hearts of a nation; dignified words of sorrow and anguish that helped to explain what made Jo Cox and her values of hope and humanity so special to so many people.

Spoken with courage by the Batley & Spen MP’s distraught sister Kim Leadbeater, only pausing briefly when she looked for encouragement from her grieving parents Gordon and Jean as they clutched each other for comfort, it was truly humbling that this brave family were able to speak with such compassion for others, and so little hatred, after their sudden and senseless loss.

Nothing could have prepared them for their daunting task in their darkest hour – or the outpouring of grief that has seen numerous vigils of remembrance, donations in excess of £700,000 to three charities and Parliament recalled for further tributes.

An ordinary family thrust into the global limelight in extraordinary circumstances, it was so typical of their generosity of spirit towards others that they should think of others in their hour of need, whether it be all those who have sent messages of support or their recognition of “the brave and courageous” pensioner Bernard Kenny who was injured as he tried to fight off the alleged assailant.

From the depths of despair, the family summoned the courage to offer a message of hope: “We have to continue this strength and solidarity in the days, months and years to come as part of Jo’s legacy – to focus on, as Jo would say, ‘that which unites us and not which divides us’. For now our family is broken, but we will mend over time. Jo will live on through all the good people in the world.”

A sentiment shared by the late MP’s bereft husband Brendan whose tweets are coalescing around the Twitter hashtag #MoreInCommon, it was striking that some – but sadly not all – politicians were more measured as the EU referendum campaign resumed.

As the Reverend Paul Knight led prayers to this “21st century Good Samaritan” at St Peter’s Church, Birstall, he added: “There is much wickedness in our world. But thank God there is so much goodness – goodness that does not recognise colour, not nationality.” This is the moral compass, shaped by her family, that guided Jo Cox – and which now needs to guide the country as an MP like no other is remembered for her humanity to all.

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