Jo Cox memorial service: Labour MP described as '21st Century good Samaritan'

The pianist who played 'Imagine' outside the Bataclan also paid a touching tribute to Jo Cox in the village where she was killed

Samuel Osborne
Sunday 19 June 2016 18:33
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Floral tributes and candles are placed by a picture of slain Labour MP Jo Cox at a vigil in Parliament square in London on 16 June, 2016
Floral tributes and candles are placed by a picture of slain Labour MP Jo Cox at a vigil in Parliament square in London on 16 June, 2016

Jo Cox has been described as a "21st Century good Samaritan" during a memorial service in the village where she was killed.

Ms Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen, was shot and stabbed outside a library in Birstall, West Yorkshire, where she was holding an advice surgery for her constituents.

A petition to cancel next week's European Referendum has seen a surge in support in the days following her killing. Over 20,000 people have signed the statement on the Parliament website.

The memorial service was held at St Peter's Church, Birstall, came as Ms Cox's husband tweeted to say he took the couple's children camping in her memory.

Brendan Cox tweeted to say: "Jo loved camping. Last night the kids & I camped in her memory& remembered the last time we were all woken by the dawn chorus #MoreInCommon"

Davide Martello, the pianist who played Imagine by John Lennon at the Bataclan theatre following the Paris terror attacks, also performed the song at Ms Cox's memorial.

The Reverend Paul Knight told the congregation at St Peter's Church: "Her humanity was powerful and compelling and we would do well to recognise her as an amazing example - a 21st Century good Samaritan."

Mr Knight added: "Jo was someone who went out of her way to help others.

"I regret to say I didn't know what she was like as a girl but she grew into a fervent advocate for the poor and oppressed.

"And though she must have been angry at times about what she saw here and around the world - those places she visited and worked - she seemed to me, at least, to be one who could fight with a passion and a disarming smile."

Mr Knight also remembered the bravery of pensioner Bernard Kenny, 77, who remains in hospital after he was injured coming to Ms Cox's aid.

On Saturday, Ms Cox's sister called for people to show "strength and solidarity" in the wake of her death.

Kim Leadbeater told crowds gathered in Birstall they should "focus on that which unites us and not which divides us" as part of her sister's legacy.

A GoFundMe page set up raise money for charities Ms Cox supported has received over £675,000 in two days.

Thomas Mair appears in court

Thomas Mair, the man charged with Ms Cox's murder, gave his name as "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain," when he appeared in court on Saturday morning.

Mair is charged with murder, grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of a knife.

He will appear for a bail application hearing at the Old Bailey on Monday.

A number of eyewitnesses suggested the words "Britain first" were shouted by Ms Cox's attacker.

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