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Great Get-Together in Brussels this Sunday in memory of British MP Jo Cox

04:00 14/06/2017
Community gathering in Leopold Park is one of more than 100,000 get-togethers planned for this weekend

Friends and former colleagues of the late British member of parliament Jo Cox are organising a community picnic in Brussels' Leopold Park this Sunday to honour her memory - in parallel with more than 100,000 get-togethers all over the UK marking the first anniversary of her murder.

Cox, who was the Labour MP for Birstall in West Yorkshire, had strong connections to Brussels and many friends here, having worked as an assistant to Glenys Kinnock MEP and at Oxfam International.

"This is where we met Jo. She lived here and loved it for five years," says Iona Hamilton, one of the organisers, who used to go running with her. "The idea is it's just a bringing together of people, communities, families, friends, neighbours to have a fun day to remember Jo."

"I first met Jo on a dancefloor," says fellow organiser Jonathan Hill. "It was that magical period in our lives when you've got your first job, you've got a bit of money in your pocket and you can go and spend it. Jo was a great dancer, awful at karaoke - really dreadful."

The Great Get-Together began as an initiative by Jo Cox's husband, Brendan. "I think his sheer refusal to hate after what happened last year was incredible," says Hill. "The dignity and the love that he showed in the worst possible circumstances is an inspiration to us all.

"The message is simple. We have more in common as human beings than the things which divide us. I think this is probably the biggest challenge facing our society - whether we can live together in spite of our differences - and Jo lived that belief throughout her life."

The City of Brussels has provided much-needed support in organising the park get-together, which is informal and open to all.

"There'll be some entertaining activities for kids and some acoustic music," Hill says. "We want every family from every commune in Brussels to feel very welcome. Please come, this is about getting together."

Anyone attending is welcome to bring a musical instrument, a cake, picnic food and a blanket. And, since we're in Brussels, suncream and an umbrella.

18 June, 12.00-16.00, Leopold Park, Brussels

Written by Kate Havrlik, Paul McNally