Great Get Together events bring crowds out in memory of Jo Cox MP

Fun run 'Run For Jo' in memory of Jo Cox held at Oakwell Hall and Country Park, Birtsall.
Fun run 'Run For Jo' in memory of Jo Cox held at Oakwell Hall and Country Park, Birtsall.
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Communities came together in a display of unity during sun-soaked events for the Great Get Together in memory of late Labour MP Jo Cox.

During the weekend she would have turned 44, more than 121,980 social gatherings took place across the country, with flagship events in Batley and Spen going ahead.

On Saturday, there was an outdoor Great Get Together Community Service at Batley’s All Saints Church, which was attended by Mrs Cox’s sister Kim Leadbeater and her parents Jean and Gordon, as well as current Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin.

There was also a Great Get Together Gala in Heckmondwike, where the Labour MP had attended grammar school, which included stalls, rides and music at Green Park.

A RunForJo fun run in her memory also took place yesterday at Oakwell Hall in Birstall.

Reverend Mark Umpleby, of All Saints Church, yesterday said: “I think the Great Get Together is just a wonderful opportunity for people to meet friends and strangers, and for those strangers to become friends.

“It allows different people from different communities to meet together and just have a good time, but also break down some of those barriers of not understanding each other some times.”

Speaking about Batley and Spen, he added: “We have particular feelings of loss and dealing with an understanding that we need to come together, but it’s not just us - the Great Get Together is right across the country.

“Sometimes people just need an excuse to meet together and think, actually, this is quite good. I think it’s important for our country. A lot of people sometimes feel not included or not part of what’s going on.”

Rev Umpleby completed the 6.4km RunForJo route alongside hundreds of others, before people sat together at Oakwell Hall and watched England’s 6-1 World Cup win over Panama.

Mrs Cox’s family and friends came up with the Great Get Together and more than 100 organisations now support the event.

It was inspired by her maiden speech to Parliament, during which she said: “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.”

A year after Mrs Cox died, millions of people get together for the first Great Get Together in June last year.

Then in December, thousands of people took on loneliness with the simple act of “a mince pie and a moment” in honour of the late politician’s work to reduce social isolation. The event is put on by More In Common in close partnership with the Jo Cox Foundation.

Far-right terrorist Thomas Mair, who lived in Birstall, murdered Mrs Cox on June 16, 2016, outside the village’s library, where she was due to hold a constituency surgery. He was later jailed for life.