Communities come together in memory of tragic Jo Cox

Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox
Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox

Walkers taking part in a major national event around the anniversary of MP Jo Cox’s murder visited a Wigan community project.

Two participants in the Great Big Walk spent a few hours at Greenslate Community Farm in Orrell on their gruelling route back to Northern Ireland.

Hikers Noel Johnson and Olivia Cosgrove make up one of five groups who met up at the start of the week in Batley and Spen, the constituency Ms Cox served before she was killed by neo-Nazi Thomas Mair last year.

The groups will all reach their destinations across the UK on Sunday June 18, the final day of a weekend of community events bringing people together supported by Ms Cox’s widower Brendan, which Greenslate is also taking part in.

The groups are visiting grass-roots projects along the way and highlighting people who do things for the local area and were delighted to be shown around the Greenslate Road environmental project and farm.

Matt Adams from the Great Big Walk said: “Greenslate is a great project. We heard stories from the volunteers about their lives and the unbelievable things are they doing there.

“We learned about the farm, the new eco-building taking shape and heard about how they are rallying round after the barn caught fire.

“They provided us with an amazing amount of food, some of which was organic and grown on site. It was thoroughly awesome to meet such incredible people doing incredible things and that’s the whole purpose of this walk.”

The team at Greenslate was equally pleased to be included in the project.

Project co-ordinator Rhiannon Jones said: “It was a very special occasion because the walk is about connecting communities together which is very important to us.

“It ties in perfectly with what we are trying to at a very local level to meet the needs of the community.

“They were a very positive, friendly bunch of people and hearing what they said about the project made us feel very proud of what we’ve achieved.”

The Great Big Walk is an initiative by the Eden Project and has attracted high-profile backing from the likes of comedian Jo Brand.

The groups are trekking back to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and London. Their walks will finish on the weekend of the Great Get Together, two days of community activities during which Mr Cox is encouraging groups to come together in a show of unity and defiance against hate.

Greenslate is hosting a Big Lunch on Sunday June 18 for the Great Get Together, tying it in with the farmer’s market.

Residents will have the chance to meet local producers, sample food grown in the area and join in a social meal.

The event runs from 10am until 2pm.