Jo Cox’s widower ‘awed’ by scale of UK events to remember his wife – The Guardian

The widower of the murdered MP Jo Cox has said he is “awed” by how the UK has embraced his wish for communities to celebrate togetherness on the anniversary of his wife’s brutal killing.

Brendan Cox was in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, at one of tens of thousands of events around the country organised as part of the Great Get Together.

Accompanied by his wife’s parents, Gordon and Jean Leadbeater, and her sister, Kim Leadbeater, Cox joined hundreds of people on the green in the centre of the town, which is at the heart of her Batley & Spen constituency.

“When we first thought about this we were thinking of just bringing some people together. We didn’t think it would have anything like the scale and the traction that it’s had. We’ve been awed by it,” he said.

Jo Cox and husband Brendan on a barge.



Jo Cox and husband Brendan on a barge. Photograph: Courtesy Brendan Cox

“I think we’ve had well over 100,000 events with millions of people taking part in the weekend. And we got the weather for it, which is a good thing to be able to say.”

Cox and his wife’s family were greeted warmly by visitors to the event, which included a range of entertainments from a bouncy castle to stalls and live music.

“Of course it’s partly about Jo but, actually, I think it’s tapping into something more important even than that, which is a sense that our communities want to come together again,” he said.

“Politics at the moment is so divisive. We spend so much time talking about the areas we disagree with each other on. Actually finding a moment like this when we just get together with our neighbours and have a good time in parks like this and streets up and down the country, I think is exactly what we need.

“What Jo’s killing was designed to do was to tear our communities apart. I can think of no better response to that than a moment like this that brings our communities together – people from different background, who come from all different places around here, different faiths. Just moments that don’t fixate on the differences but focus on those things that we have in common.

“I think as a country we are not good enough at doing that.

Brendan Cox, Jo’s mother Jean Leadbeater (left) and father Gordon Leadbeater (right) in Heckmondwike.



Brendan Cox, Jo’s mother Jean Leadbeater (left) and father Gordon Leadbeater (right) in Heckmondwike. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

“If people feel closer to their communities, that’s exactly how Jo would want to be remembered.”

Cox said he had spent Friday with his family, focusing on his wife, who was murdered on 16 June last year outside the library in Birstall, a few miles to the east.

“She would have loved this thing. It was absolutely at the heart of who she was. She would have been here bouncing on the bouncy castle with the kids,” he said.

“And to have moments that enable us to celebrate that and to remember that. For us, as a family, that’s the best thing we can have.”

Jo Cox’s widower ‘awed’ by scale of UK events to remember his wife – The Guardian

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