England

Jo Cox MP remembered as '21st Century Good Samaritan'

Churchgoers during a service for Jo Cox at St Peter's Church in Birstall Image copyright PA

MP Jo Cox has been described as a "21st Century Good Samaritan" in a church service held to remember her life.

At St Peter's Church, Birstall - in Mrs Cox's constituency - the Rev Paul Knight called her a "fervent advocate for the poor and the oppressed".

The mother of two was killed in the town on Thursday, and a fund set up in her name has exceeded £700,000.

Her husband, Brendan, posted on Twitter to say he had taken their children camping in their mother's memory.

"Jo loved camping. Last night the kids & I camped in her memory & remembered the last time we were all woken by the dawn chorus," he wrote.

Image copyright Brendan Cox
Image caption Labour MP Jo Cox died after the attack in her constituency

Friends of Mrs Cox have announced plans for a public event in Trafalgar Square in London on Wednesday - which would have been her 42nd birthday.

'Powerful and compelling'

Organisers of the event, More in Common - Celebrating the life of Jo Cox, said it would celebrate her "warmth, love, energy, passion, flair, Yorkshire heritage and the belief in the humanity of every person in every place".

Similar events are also planned in Batley and Spen and as far afield as New York, Brussels, Washington DC and Nairobi.

At the church services earlier, prayers were said for Mr Cox and the couple's children.

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Media captionThe Reverend Paul Knight said the MP was someone who went out of her way to help others.

Mr Knight told the congregation: "Her humanity was powerful and compelling and we would do well to recognise her as an amazing example, a 21st Century Good Samaritan."

Tributes were also paid to Bernard Kenny, the 77-year-old man who was injured as he came to the MP's aid on Thursday. He remains in a stable condition in hospital.

"I think he has been a very brave person," Mr Knight said.

'Unity of the crowd'

Meanwhile, MPs from across the political divide have continued to pay tribute to the Labour backbencher.

Parliament will be recalled on Monday for tributes to the Batley and Spen MP in the House of Commons.

Leader of the House Chris Grayling, said: "Conventional party politics should be a million miles away."

He said he supported the idea that MPs should not sit in their usual party groups during the session.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Michael Gove said Mrs Cox had been the sort of person people would "want our daughters to grow up to be".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described his impression of the strong community spirit in Birstall.

"What struck me was the unity of the crowd, all ethnic groups, everybody there together, totally shocked and in grief at what happened," he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jo Cox's parents and sister said they were appreciative of the tributes paid to the MP

Mr Corbyn's words echoed comments made on Saturday by Mrs Cox's sister Kim Leadbeater when she called on people to "focus on that which unites us and not which divides us".

Ms Leadbeater spoke in Birstall's market square, as she stood with their parents Gordon and Jean and thanked gathered crowds for their support.

'Outpouring of love'

The tributes paid to her "perfect" sister had "genuinely made a difference", she said, and helped the family through some "dark times".

"I could not watch the overwhelming outpouring of love without speaking on behalf of Jo," she said.

"She will live on through good people in the world."

The funds donated by well-wishers will support three causes Mr Cox said were close to his wife's heart - the The Royal Voluntary Service, HOPE not hate and The White Helmets.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Hundreds of floral tributes have been left in Mrs Cox's memory in the centre of Birstall

Mrs Cox was about to attend a constituency surgery when she was killed.

Thomas Mair, 52, from Birstall, has been charged with her murder, and also faces charges of grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon.

He refused to give his correct name and did not reply when asked to confirm his address and date of birth at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

He did not enter a plea and is next due to appear for a bail application hearing at the Old Bailey on Monday.

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