Jo Cox's Great Get Together inspires country during lockdown

The fourth annual Great Get Together was again full of ingenuity and creativity from people making connections with others in their community.

Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 11:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 3:22 pm
Wedding - Michael Lomas and Alicia Evans with street congregation

From an impromptu wedding that was cancelled by coronavirus, to unleashing the artistic side of residents for a reimagined 14th century fair, there was no shortage of connection across the country.

During the weekend, many people across Britain connected during the coronavirus lockdown for the event inspired by the life of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox, who was killed in Birstall in 2016.

Jo’s sister, Kim Leadbeater said: “It’s been inspirational and heartwarming for me to see so many people across the country coming together ‘virtually’ to celebrate the power of community, and remember Jo’s message that we have more in common than that which divides us.”

a Bake Off at Upper Batley High School in Jos former constituency

The Great Get Together also saw a Bake Off at Upper Batley High School in Jo’s former constituency, with Jo’s parents, Gordon and Jean, and her sister, Kim, took part in as judges.

The event inspired people in Wakefield to help raise awareness of child loneliness and the complex needs of children in wheelchairs after organising a socially distant walk within the local area.

Further afield, Mike and Alicia Lomas from Llantwit Major, Glamorgan, had a ‘great got together’ after their wedding was cancelled due to coronavirus, so friends from their street arranged an aisle and socially-distant seating for the rearranged ceremony.

A reimagined Scarborough Fair was brought to a close on Sunday after three days of judging artistic entries, with £1,000 worth of prizes being handed out to the winners.

Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox was killed in 2016

Writers, poets, model makers and performers all contributed to the event that opened with a postcard design competition.

Towns and communities across Birmingham were given a red a white decoration, after 1,000 craft packs were delivered across the city for people to make mandalas.

The geometric patterns brightened up neighbourhoods when a community group teamed up with local mutual aid groups that were delivering meals to the vulnerable across the city to help people decorate their local area.

The event was branded as a ‘yarn bomb’ and was organised by The Hive - a heritage and craft venue in the Jewellery Quarter of the city - in collaboration with the Birmingham More in Common team, as well as through interfaith networks that incorporated local mosques, churches, synagogue and gurdwaras.

2 Wedding - Michael Lomas and Alicia Evans with Claire Millar

Every year since her murder in 2016, thousands of people across the UK have got together to remember Jo Cox and her message that we all have more in common than that which divides us.

In 2020 the ‘Great Get Together’ took on a different form and the weekend of Jo’s birthday on June 19 th -21 st provided an opportunity for people to connect with others in their communities.

Catherine Anderson, CEO of the Jo Cox Foundation, said: "The Great Get Together is special every year - but perhaps even more so this year as we all find new and innovative ways to reach out to our friends, neighbours and to those in need in our communities, in extremely challenging times.

"Inspired by Jo, we want to make sure that our incredible Great Get Together family across the UK can continue to celebrate Jo's values, which resonate now more than ever before.

The Birmingham Great Get Together 'yarn bomb' craft packs were taken to the #BrumTogether food distribution centre

"Strengthened bonds and more connected communities will be one of the legacies of Covid-19, and we believe that experience of togetherness will outlast the present crisis and endure long into the future."

Jo Cox's parents, Gordon and Jean ready for the Run for Jo
Kim Leadbeater
Upper Batley High School in Jos former constituency
Ilkeston Queen's tea party