Leeds & West Yorkshire

Events held to remember murdered MP Jo Cox

Jo Cox standing next to Batley sign
Image caption Mrs Cox's constituency will be the focus of a number of events remembering the MP

Communities have come together to celebrate the life of the murdered MP Jo Cox.

The 41-year-old was shot and stabbed in Birstall, in her Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen, on 16 June 2016.

To mark the first anniversary of her death her family and friends have urged people to hold events that celebrate her life.

The Great Get Together, involving picnics, street parties and concerts, runs across the weekend.

Organised by the Jo Cox Foundation, it aims to reinforce the message in Mrs Cox's maiden speech in the House of Commons that "we have more in common than that which divides us".

Mrs Cox's sister, Kim Leadbeater, said the events were "nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with religion".

"Nothing to do with anything other than getting together with people in your communities," she added.

"People are desperate for it - people want something that is about coming together and being positive."

The Labour MP's former constituency is the focus of a number of events.

Image caption Gordon and Jean Leadbeater opened the new school centre named in memory of their daughter

Schoolchildren across the area participated in special assemblies and Upper Batley High School renamed its conference centre in honour of Mrs Cox.

The new centre was opened by Mrs Cox's parents Gordon and Jean Leadbeater. Mrs Leadbeater said she was delighted to take part in the ceremony.

"There was nothing Jo liked better than getting into the schools," said Mrs Leadbeater.

"She knew that this is where it all started, the grassroots. Start with the children and work up."

Mr Leadbeater added that, although the anniversary was difficult, "what keeps us going is the strength we are getting from people and we can feel the love".

People gathered for "a moment of reflection" close to the site of Ms Cox's murder in Birstall market place.

Children wrote messages on a memorial wall erected in the square.

Image caption People gathered at a memorial site in Birstall market place close to where Mrs Cox was murdered

More than 500 children sang in a choir on the village green in Heckmondwike.

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Media captionHundreds of children gathered in Heckmondwike to sing in memory of Jo Cox

Nationally more than 100,000 events have been planned between Friday and Sunday, the foundation said.

Mrs Cox's widower Brendan said he was "awed" by the numbers of people who planned to take part.

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