A boat filled with flowers and emblazoned with the words “Yorkshire Rose” will float down the Thames from where she lived on a Dutch barge “Ederlezi” in Wapping to Parliament today in memory of Jo Cox, who would have been celebrating her 42nd birthday today.
It is to coincide with a major event in Trafalgar Square to celebrate the life and works of the MP, whose death last week shook the country. Mrs Cox’s husband, Brendan, invited Londoners to join him at the gathering, on what would have been his wife’s 42nd birthday. U2 have recorded a song for the MP, which was to be played at the event, while global figures including activist Malala Yousafzai are set to pay tribute. The Labour MP for Batley and Spen died after being stabbed and shot outside her constituency surgery last week.
— Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) June 22, 2016
Since then Mr Cox has rallied grieving supporters, calling on them to “fight against the hatred that killed her”. Ahead of today’s “More in Common” event he said on Twitter: “Today would have been Jo’s birthday. If you can, please join us this afternoon to celebrate her life & legacy.” Friends of the MP will tow the dinghy along the river to Parliament by 3.30pm. It will be moored there for a week.
— Nik Wood-Jones (@freebirdsfly) June 21, 2016
When in London, Mr and Mrs Cox and their two children lived on a houseboat moored at the Hermitage Moorings Co-Op in Wapping. Today David Kew, 52, a film maker and founding member of the Co-op, was putting the finishing touches to the boat. He said: “What is special about today is Jo always loved the idea of going up the river in her little boat to go to work. The memorial started very much as a personal tribute to Jo from the community here but we are aware of the impact her death has had on everyone in the country. We hope our Yorkshire rose tribute will be on behalf of the whole country.”
The celebration in Trafalgar Square, starting at 4pm, will take place alongside simultaneous events in Brussels, New York, Nairobi and Beirut which reflects Jo’s long career with NGO’s, particularly Oxfam where she was head of policy before being elected as an MP. U2 frontman Bono worked with Mrs Cox on the Make Poverty History campaign and in the past 48 hours the band have recorded a song especially for the event. Mariella Frostrup, will introduce a video of the song along with other readings and appearances.
— Malala Fund (@MalalaFund) June 21, 2016
The picture her husband Brendan tweeted after Jo had been attacked by a neo-Nazi coward outside her surgery while working for her constituents showed a casually dressed Jo squinting into the sun at Hermitage Moorings. In the picture, she poses beside her London home – a converted old Dutch barge moored on the river, where she lived with her husband and two young children, Lejla and Cuillin. The quirky residence hinted at her adventurous nature; she once answered “I climb mountains” when asked what she does to relax. Cox had also been planning her 42nd birthday party to take place on her barge next week. A joy snatched away from her family and friends, as a respected campaigner is stolen from British politics for doing her duty.
On Tuesday, Mr Cox spoke publicly for the first time since his wife’s death and said she was killed because of her “very strong” political views. He said: “She was a politician and she had very strong political views and I believe she was killed because of those views. I think she died because of them, and she would want to stand up for those in death as much as she did in life.”
Her neighbours at the Moorings sounded a mournful tribute by the riverside to her. For several minutes the mournful sounds carried along the Thames and across the city. Words cannot express the loss and shock felt by her family and friends, communities in Yorkshire, London, UK, Europe, Syria and indeed the world.
The barge horns somehow could.
Today, powered by its readers and contributors, from its cyber eyries in Ireland and the centres of the Irish Diaspora The Eagle casts its Cold Eye on Life and Death and much in between.