MP Jo Cox's humanitarian spirit is continuing inspiration

In the days following Jo Cox's murder last summer, the message of her maiden speech in the Commons became a focal point for those who share her belief that we 'have far more in common with each other than things that divide us'.

Friday, 16th June 2017, 06:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 14:22 pm
Jo Cox, who was killed last summer.

This weekend more than 100,000 events will bring communities across the UK together as the first Great Get Together takes place in that same spirit.

Put together by The Jo Cox Foundation and The Big Lunch along with dozens of other groups, it could be the biggest community event since the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Mrs Cox’s friend Tracy Brabin, now MP for Batley and Spen, said: “Since Jo’s death, here in Batley and Spen and across the country we’ve seen an outpouring of love and celebration of her life and her message that we have more in common than that which divides us.

Kim Leadbeater and her parents accept the Yorkshire Rose given posthumously to Jo Cox at this years Women of Achievement Awards. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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“This weekend will be painful for many who knew and loved Jo, but there’s no better way of celebrating her life than communities across the country coming together, celebrating old friendships and new.

“I encourage everyone to participate in continuing the beautiful legacy of love and tolerance that Jo left to us.”

The Great Get Together follows on from celebrations held in London, Mrs Cox’s hometown of Batley and worldwide last June to mark what would have been her 42nd birthday.

Mrs Cox's parents, Jean and Gordon Leadbeater, join sister Kim to unveil a plaque at Dewsbury and District Hospital. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

They are part of a continuing legacy inspired by a lifetime of humanitarian work.

Almost £2m has been donated to the Jo Cox Fund, with the first £1.5m being shared by three charities that were close to Mrs Cox’s heart – The Royal Voluntary Service, Hope Not Hate and The White Helmets.

The remaining funds have been used to establish the foundation set up in her name to advance the values of causes for which Mrs Cox fought.

Kim Leadbeater and her parents accept the Yorkshire Rose given posthumously to Jo Cox at this years Women of Achievement Awards. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

It was boosted by the proceeds a cover of the Rolling Stones track “You can’t always get what you want” recorded by musicians, MPs and the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus, which reached number two in the charts.

There have been a series of posthumous awards, including the Yorkshire Rose at this year’s Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards.

And in January, there was the launch of The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness which seeks to find a solution to this growing ‘epidemic’ in the UK.

Closer to home, this was reflected in the decision to rename Batley Resource Centre in Mrs Cox’s memory. The building in Market Place is now known as Jo Cox House, with officials saying it will be a place which supports her goal of reducing loneliness in society.

Mrs Cox's parents, Jean and Gordon Leadbeater, join sister Kim to unveil a plaque at Dewsbury and District Hospital. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Mrs Cox’s family were also invited to unveil a plaque in her honour at a new midwife-led birth centre at Dewsbury and District Hospital.

Her mother, Jean Leadbeater, said at the time: “We know it was very dear to Jo’s heart and she would have been very proud to have been here.

“Jo was an MP, a humanitarian, a wife, a sister, a daughter, but most of all she was a mum, and she knew how important it was to have units like this in our local community.”

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