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  • Tributes in memory of murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox, who was shot dead in Birstall, are left at Parliament Square in London, Britain, on June 18, 2016.

    Tributes in memory of murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox, who was shot dead in Birstall, are left at Parliament Square in London, Britain, on June 18, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Nationwide commemorations are taking place with a theme of unity. 

On the first anniversary of U.K. lawmaker Jo Cox’s death, tens of thousands of people are taking part in events across the country to celebrate her life and unite communities. 

RELATED: 
UK Lawmaker Jo Cox, an Advocate for Refugees, Assassinated

The Great Get Together, which has been organised by Jo’s husband, Brendan Cox, and their family, aims to be the biggest expression of national unity since the Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

The events run until Sunday and include street parties, BBQs, picnics, coffee mornings, tea parties as well as iftars. 

"She wanted to bring people together of different types and backgrounds and she would be incredibly humbled by the scale of the response," Brendan said to the BBC.

Jo, the Labour MP for the Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen, was stabbed and shot by Thomas Mair, a right-wing extremist, outside Birstall Library on June 16, 2016, a week before the EU referendum vote.

Mair shouted "Britain first" during the attack.

He was later sentenced to life in prison for her murder.

Jo had campaigned for the UK to remain within the EU.

Kim Leadbeater, Jo's sister, said: "We decided very early on that we would not remember how Jo died, we would focus on how Jo lived."

In a rare gesture of unity on Friday, four former prime ministers, John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, delivered a joint video message in memory of Jo and urged people to come together to celebrate her life. 

Cameron, who was Prime Minister when the MP was killed, said: "When Jo Cox said we have more in common than that which divides us, she was spot on.”

"Think of those things. Common sense, decency, respect for others, tolerance, a sense of humour, pride in our country. And that’s what inspires The Great Get Together this weekend," he added.

Cox's family also voiced the same opinion inspired by this week’s Grenfell Tower fire in London and recent terror attacks. 

“Seeing communities coming together, seeing west London, that's an amazing sight, all colours, creeds, everybody pulling together,” Cox's mother Jean Leadbeater said to BBC. "I think we're getting through, maybe it will take a while but the message will get through. We need to be united. Hate doesn't do anything, it's hope that counts.”

A week after Jo’s death, the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.

Two months ago, Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap election hoping to strengthen her hand before formal Brexit talks start. 

In a surprise defeat, May lost its majority in the parliament.

As the process of Brexit negotiations finally gets underway on Monday, the country is still politically divided and uncertain about its future.

“We hope these events give us all a moment – as Jo talked about in her maiden speech – to focus on the things we have in common,” Brendan said to The Daily Telegraph.
 
“I also hope they are fun, full of energy and laughter. That's what Jo would have wanted.”


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