United hearts and voices to honour our Jo

Jo Cox’s parents have pledged to make their daughter proud as they launched a series of events to bring communities together in the wake of her death.

Gordon and Jean Leadbeater said the thousands of Big Get Togethers being held across the country in Mrs Cox’s memory would help to send out a message of hope.

Schools gather in Green Park, Heckmondwike to perform songs in memory of Jo Cox. Jo parents and sister attending the event.

Schools gather in Green Park, Heckmondwike to perform songs in memory of Jo Cox. Jo parents and sister attending the event.

Speaking at Upper Batley High School, where a conference building was renamed after the murdered MP, Mrs Cox’s mother said: “It is a great honour. Jo loved this school.”

Mrs Leadbeater added: “In the light of this horrendous year, I think we are making a difference....And hopefully we’re doing Jo proud by doing the things that she would have been doing.”

She said the first anniversary of her daughter’s death was “difficult” for the family but they attended a number of community events in West Yorkshire in her honour.

Mrs Leadbeater added: “It’s what Jo would have wanted.

“She wouldn’t have wanted us to sit at home and do nothing, this is what it’s all about.”

During the event her father recounted a tale of chasing his daughter around the garden when she was a child.

“And then she went on to run the New York Marathon,” Mr Leadbeater said.

“Fortunately I didn’t have to do that with her.”

Schools from across Spenborough – including Heckmondwike Grammar School, where Mrs Cox was the head girl – gathered to sing as one choir.

Heckmondwike deputy headteacher Peter Roberts said: “It was a privilege to take part in the performance and being able to sing on a day when there would be many solemn faces made it a fitting tribute.”

At Windmill Primary School hundreds of balloons were 
released and children sung a version of John Lennon’s Imagine.

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin, who succeeded Mrs Cox’s seat, said: “It has been celebratory but thoughtful.”

l See Monday’s YEP for a full picture round-up of events held in Yorkshire this weekend.