People from across Cheshire East gathered in glorious sunshine at a host of community events to honour the memory of murdered MP Jo Cox.
The Great Get Together celebrations were backed by Cheshire East Council to encourage residents across the borough to join together in their communities at the weekend to share food, conversation and celebrate what we all have in common.
The events marked the first anniversary of Batley and Spen MP Jo’s murder on June 16, 2016. The council had made £15,000 available for community groups to apply for grants of up to £100 to come together and hold street parties – and 70 separate events were supported by the scheme in Cheshire East.
Grants were used to provide entertainment, food, decorations, craft materials, face paints and much more. The council waived its fees for licensing and road closures for these special community events.
The council also organised community events that weekend, with a fun afternoon and BBQ in Westminster Park, Crewe, drew around 800 people on the Saturday (June 17) and a pot-luck picnic and family sports in West Park on Sunday (June 18) which attracted around 400 people. Another council event at Macclesfield’s South Park also drew several hundred.
Councillor Paul Bates, cabinet member for communities and health, said: “A fantastic community spirit was shown right across the borough at a host of wonderful Great Get Together events, supported by the council, celebrating life and diversity in memory of Jo Cox at the weekend.
“Now, more than ever, we need to show support for our whole community and it was great to see so many people getting involved and meeting people from their neighbourhoods that they might not already know.
“As well as campaigning around diversity and human rights issues, Jo was also concerned about loneliness, which is an issue in our towns and rural areas.
“Connected people are happier and healthier and I can’t think of a better tribute to Jo than seeing so many people take the time to connect and celebrate living in our local community.”
Cllr Bates volunteered to be put in ‘the stocks’ and pelted with wet sponges at a Great Get Together event in Congleton on Sunday – raising £400 for the Ruby’s Fund charity for disabled children.
One local resident who attended the Great Get Together event in West Park, Macclesfield: “Watching local people support and attend the event was truly inspirational.”
Another resident said: “I have never seen so much community spirit.”
The council received successful grant applications from a range of community and neighbour groups including a Carers Great Get Together in Knutsford, The Great Get Together Tea Dance in Congleton, Cake and Craft Get Together in Scholar Green, Great Gardening Get Together at Allotments all over Cheshire East, Homestead Street P-A-R-T-Y in Macclesfield and Balfour Buffet and Barbecue in Crewe – plus many more.