Nine million take part in Great Get Together in memory of Jo Cox

A total of nine million people are estimated to have taken part in this year’s Great Get Together in memory of former MP Jo Cox.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 2:00 pm
Janet and Iain Astle hosted a garden party for the Great Get Together in the garden of their home in Cleckheaton
Janet and Iain Astle hosted a garden party for the Great Get Together in the garden of their home in Cleckheaton

The event, spearheaded by The Jo Cox Foundation set up following the Batley and Spen MP’s murder five years ago, brings neighbours and communities together for street parties, picnics and other events.

Among those who organised events this year were Janet and Iain Astle, who held a get together in the garden of their home on Kenmore Road in Cleckheaton and raised £250 for The Jo Cox Foundation.

Janet said: "We have held a Great Get Together every year since the tragic death of Jo Cox.

Jill Hardaker and Margaret Avery at a garden party for the Great Get Together, held at Janet and Iain Astle's home in Cleckheaton

"Although we didn’t know Jo, I knew her family mainly through Physical Jerks gym where her parents were members and Kim was a trainer.

"Kim also became a regular and popular visitor to Purlwell Infants School where I worked when she did after school keep fit sessions for the children and also the staff.

"Everyone at school felt the family’s loss at Jo’s death but especially Kim’s. Coincidentally Jo’s assistant who was present on that awful day was chair of governors at the school too.

"All this combined spurred us to hold a get-together in our garden to bring neighbours and friends together. Each year has seen it become more popular, though last year we had to compromise and just have a cake stall in front of our house.

Jill Hardaker, Susan Hodge, Julie Hodge and Mavis Threlfall at a garden party for the Great Get Together, held at Janet and Iain Astle's home in Cleckheaton

"It was great to be back in the garden this year and wonderful to meet up with friends we hadn’t been able to see due to Covid restrictions, especially members of Oakenshaw Community Choir which I am a member of and haven’t been able to meet since last March.

"Jo had arranged for the choir to sing in Westminster as part of her drive to beat loneliness, but of course that never happened.

"We do still promote singing in a choir as a means of getting out and meeting people and hope that will continue.

"Thanks to generous donations this year we raised £250 for The Jo Cox Foundation to continue the work she started."