The greatest get together! Yorkshire has fun in the sun as it unites in memory of Jo Cox

Picnic time at Brodsworth Hall near Doncaster.
Picnic time at Brodsworth Hall near Doncaster.
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Communities across the country found common cause at the weekend as they embraced unity, hope and love in memory of murdered West Yorkshire MP Jo Cox.

From back garden picnics to large-scale celebrations, tens of thousands of events took place nationwide as part of the Great Get Together, organised to mark the first anniversary of mother-of-two Mrs Cox’s death.

Brendan Cox with Mrs Cox's sister, Kim Leadbeater, in Heckmondwike.

Brendan Cox with Mrs Cox's sister, Kim Leadbeater, in Heckmondwike.

Gatherings in Leeds included a fun day on Burley Village Green and a street party on Norton Road, Roundhay.

Get-togethers were also held in Batley Market Square, Gomersal’s Grove Community Library, All Saints CE Primary School in Little Horton, Bradford, and Rotherham’s Clifton Park, to name just a few.

Hundreds of balloons were released in Mrs Cox’s honour during a community day in Wakefield’s Thornes Park while rugby league fans were given free admission as Batley Bulldogs played host to Sheffield Eagles.

There were plenty of smiles in the sun, too, for families at Brodsworth Hall and Gardens, near Doncaster.

Plate-spinning fun at All Saints CE Primary School, in Little Horton, Bradford.

Plate-spinning fun at All Saints CE Primary School, in Little Horton, Bradford.

Places holding events in other parts of the country included St Ann’s Square in Manchester, Cardiff Story Museum, Windsor Guildhall, Palmeira Square in Hove and Clapham Common and Olympic Park in London.

Speaking at a celebration in the centre of Heckmondwike, Mrs Cox’s widower, Brendan, said: “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.

“I think we’ve had well over 100,000 events with millions of people taking part in the weekend.

A Great Get Together event at Burley Village Green in Leeds.

A Great Get Together event at Burley Village Green in Leeds.

“And we got the weather for it, which is a good thing to be able to say.”

Famous names entered into the spirit of the occasion, with U2 frontman Bono telling fans at a concert in the American city of Louisville on Friday night: “When Jo Cox was murdered for campaigning for what she believed in, her two children lost a mother and her nation lost one of its brightest stars.”

He then dedicated the song Ultraviolet (Light My Way) to Mrs Cox.

Hebden Bridge-born singer Ed Sheeran compiled a special Great Get Together playlist on music streaming service Spotify that included tracks such as Master Blaster (Jammin’) by Stevie Wonder and Give Me The Night by George Benson.

Laurie Briggs singing at Burley Village Green in Leeds.

Laurie Briggs singing at Burley Village Green in Leeds.

And on-site preparations for Glastonbury Festival were temporarily put on hold so workers could stage a Great Get Together celebration of their own.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, spoke at a tea party at Glasgow Women’s Library and urged people not to let the actions of a minority intent on creating division demonise whole communities.

She told attendees: “Jo’s maiden speech in the House of Commons had that memorable phrase ‘we have more in common than anything that divides us’, so that’s a pretty good principle for all of us to try and live our lives by.”

Batley & Spen MP Mrs Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed by extremist Thomas Mair in the centre of Birstall on June 16 last year.

Flowers in her memory were laid around the foot of the Joseph Priestley statue in the village this weekend, with one bearing a note that said: “God bless Jo and all her family.”

A handwritten sign fixed to railings next to the statue included the touching words: “All Jo wanted to do was to make people’s lives better, she paid for that with her own life.”

A coffee morning at Grove Community Library in Gomersal.

A coffee morning at Grove Community Library in Gomersal.

The weekend’s celebrations were expected to be the biggest the country has seen since the street parties that were held to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

A street party on Norton Road, Roundhay.

A street party on Norton Road, Roundhay.