The reaction to The Great Get Together has surprised even Brendan Cox

The reaction to The Great Get Together has surprised even Brendan Cox

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

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

He said that while the day was to remember Jo, it showed “that our communities want to come together again.”

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

He 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.

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

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

“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.”

Cox said: “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 backgrounds, 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.”

More in this Section

US student and Iranian scientist released in prisoner swapUS student and Iranian scientist released in prisoner swap

18 killed in air strikes on rebel stronghold in Syria18 killed in air strikes on rebel stronghold in Syria

US naval base gunman ‘watched videos of mass shootings before attack’US naval base gunman ‘watched videos of mass shootings before attack’

Seven killed in gas blast at apartment complex in SlovakiaSeven killed in gas blast at apartment complex in Slovakia


Lifestyle

This Christmas remember that there is no such thing as cheap food.Buy local: Use your LOAF

As we wait, eager and giddy, a collective shudder of agitated ardor ripples through the theatre, like a Late, Late Toyshow audience when they KNOW Ryan’s going to give them another €150 voucher. Suddenly, a voice booms from the stage. Everyone erupts, whooping and cheering. And that was just for the safety announcement.Everyman's outstanding Jack and the Beanstalk ticks all panto boxes

Every band needs a Bez. In fact, there’s a case to be made that every workplace in the country could do with the Happy Mondays’ vibes man. Somebody to jump up with a pair of maracas and shake up the energy when things begin to flag.Happy Mondays create cheery Tuesday in Cork gig

More From The Irish Examiner