Yesterday. The perfect summer’s day. And here are the people of Much Wenlock gathered on the Church Green in a Great Get Together picnic, organised by the local community group Building Bridges Not Walls. It was of course only one of the 120,000 events being held this weekend across Great Britain to celebrate the life of Jo Cox, the vivacious young Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who stood for community, togetherness, tolerance and diversity, and who was tragically murdered last year.
So we came together to make a stand against those who would divide us, and we did it with poetry, Turkish dancing, song, and soothing tabla rhythms. Swallows and swifts swooped overhead. The churchyard willow provided ample shade and dappled light. Assorted dogs came along too. Children clamoured to have their faces painted, and the place hummed with convivial chatter and good fellowship. And somewhere amongst it all there was a BBC film crew making a programme about life in a rural parish, featuring our Rector, Reverend Matthew Stafford.
Meanwhile providing some of the entertainment were:
Tarlochen on tabla, Ian on guitar and vocals: and a fine happenstance partnership it turned out to be with an ace version of Eleanor Rigby.
Then there was Wenlock’s Turkish Dance Group ‘Belly Up’:
And local poet, Paul Francis (in the hat), paid a heartfelt tribute in the Ballad of Jo Cox:
And young Jenny from the Sixth Form College sang to us:
Local groups also had their stalls – the Samaritans, Rojo Rojo Orphanage in Kenya, the Twinning Group, Cuan House Wildlife Rescue; there was tea and cakes in the Priory Hall…
And then, after a few hours peacefully spent together, everyone went home with smiles on their faces. A fine time was had by all, and so a big ‘well done’ to the organisers. But for the final flourish here is Graham on the path home, showing off his Maldives fish shirt. It had proved a great hit among the picnickers, including the Rector. He told us he had a wedding coming up, and the bride had forbidden him to wear his usual gloomy clerical gear. He thought Graham’s shirt was just the job, and how much did he want for it:
Still, you can’t please everyone and the Highland Cattle just over the fence were not impressed. Much too fishy, they said, before heading off to the furthest corner of the field:
And now for the slide show:
copyright 2017 Tish Farrell
17 thoughts on “Much Wenlock’s Jo Cox Great Get Together Picnic”
Congratulations to the Much Wenlock community for celebrating this wonderful MP’s life!
Thank you, Sarah. It was a great day all round.
A wonderful way to celebrate Jo’s life and contribution. Will this be an annual event?
I wonder if it will. At the moment Jo Cox has well and truly captured people’s imaginations, and her husband’s book is just out too. It would be great to think we could carry on the getting together 🙂
Congrats for this event! Judging from the photos it must have been wonderful!……
A wonderful way to remember: she would very much approve I think. Thank you for such a lovely glimpse of your community including highland cattle. Is Graham lending his shirt? And was there any opposition?
Graham is more than happy to lend his shirt. Is going round saying he was ‘best in show’.
What a wonderful way to celebrate a life cruelly taken and to remind people of the importance of community.
Looks like a fine time was had by all! Hope the show comes out well, too.
I am very much a fan of life celebrations rather than funerals. My first husband always loved bagpipes and we found some. We laughed and a few of us cried, just a little. But that’s what he wanted.
How very delightful!
This is beautiful!
We had a similar event in my neighbourhood too to honour Jo, it was packed with food, drinks and laughter. We are hoping to make it annual gathering given the huge turn out and positive feedback.
Hello, Folakemi. So glad you had a Great Get Together too 🙂
A beautiful shared time. An appropriate way to Honour Jo.
These gatherings are great, they should be the norm.
I agree, Gilly.