ASIDE from the occasional sound of sirens and roaring planes flying above Trafalgar Square carrying a Vote Leave banner, you couldn’t hear a pin drop during Jo Cox’s moving memorial last Wednesday (22).
Thousands of friends, former colleagues and people who had never met the popular Batley and Spen MP, who spent her life campaigning for others, gathered in London to pay tribute to the mother of two.
Images of sparky Cox, who was killed earlier this month, were projected onto the screens as well-wishers clutched white roses to celebrate her Yorkshire roots.
Celebrities including Lilly Allen, Gillian Anderson and Bill Nighy sang and read poems to the crowd who had gathered on what would have been Cox’s 42nd birthday as events were held across the globe from New York to Nairobi.
However, it was the moment her husband Brendan spoke, giving a eulogy about his beloved wife that moved many to tears.
Earlier that afternoon, he had travelled with their two young children – Lejla, three, and Cuillin, five – on a boat after mooring a dinghy filled with flowers in the River Thames outside the Houses of
Parliament. The family had lived on a houseboat when they stayed in London.
In a tearful speech, Brendan said Jo’s killing was an “act of terror designed to advance an agenda of hatred towards others”.
“What a beautiful irony it is that an act designed to advance hatred has instead generated such an outpouring of love,” he added.
Brendan said Jo would have spent the day (before the EU referendum) dashing around the streets of her home town trying to convince people that Britain was stronger in Europe.
“She hated the idea of building walls between us and worried about the dynamics that that could bring.”
But his emotional address was interrupted by the noise of a plane carrying a banner, which read: Take Control #Vote Leave, to the dismay of the crowd.
Teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, received a cheer as she took to the stage.
She made the crowd laugh as she told them that the one thing she had in common with the mother of two was that they were both small.
“Jo showed us all that you can be small and still be a giant and that’s what she was – a giant. She proved that she was a giant when she stood up to declare that we have more in common than that what
divides us,” Malala said.
The 18-year-old added: “There is a reason that extremists resort to violence – they cannot win a battle of ideas. Jo’s life is proof that a message of peace is more powerful than any weapon of war. Once again extremists cannot win.”
To end the emotional service, a video was played showing the MP building a snowman with her young children and singing with them.