The husband of murdered MP Jo Cox is calling on the UK to throw a “massive party to show our unity and to celebrate what we have in common”.
Mother-of-two Mrs Cox was shot and stabbed by neo-Nazi Thomas Mair in her Batley and Spen constituency days before the EU referendum last June.
Her husband Brendan, the Duchess of Cornwall and Jamie Oliver are to launch the Great Get Together, designed to bring people together within communities.
Writing in The Sun, Mr Cox said her murder was an “act designed to divide her community, but it failed” and instead “showed her community and our country at their best”.
He wrote: “Our conclusion is that she would want a massive party to show our unity and to celebrate what we have in common.”
Mr Cox said no matter what race, religion or colour people are, and regardless of how they vote or what they think about Europe, the Great Get Together is a “moment for us all to stand up and be counted”.
“Or maybe just to sit down and eat under-cooked sausages. That is definitely something that would have made Jo smile.”
The Great Get Together, which will involve tens of thousands of community get-togethers on the weekend of June 17/18, has been put together by The Jo Cox Foundation and The Big Lunch along with dozens of community groups.
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Cox said there had been an “amazing” response.
He told the show: “I think the reason it’s happening is partly because of Jo but also I think there’s something more fundamental going on that people do worry about a reducing sense of community.
“I think there’s a zeitgeist which we’re tapping into and giving people an excuse to say, ‘actually, let’s get together and celebrate what binds us together and have some more positivity about who we are as a country,.”
Mr Cox said he does not want the anniversary of her death to be about mourning and “everybody being depressed”, but an event that captures her energy and brings communities together.
“My hope is that something good can come out of something that was so horrible. I just hope on that weekend we can come together as a community and do something which I hope will be fun.
“Obviously it’s horrible for me, but actually, I hope this is just an opportunity for people to get together.”
People are being invited to get together with friends, neighbours and strangers for street parties, picnics, barbecues and baking competitions.
Organisers say they expect it to be the biggest event of its kind since the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations in 2012.
Details will be announced at a launch hosted by Camilla, who is patron of The Big Lunch, at Clarence House in central London.
The Duchess will be joined in the kitchen by Oliver and Mr Cox will also speak.
Oliver said: “There’s nothing better than a good get-together with friends, family and amazing food. The Great Get Together takes it to a whole new level.
“Food connects us to the best things in life - it breaks down barriers, and gets people talking and sharing happy times like nothing else.
“This is an awesome initiative, and I’m really proud to add my support.”
The Big Lunch was started in 2009 by the Eden Project and is funded by the Big Lottery Fund.