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Stewart Wood tribute to Jo Cox

House of Lords, 20th June 2016

Jo was committed to bringing the voices of those outside the corridors of power inside its walls.  And in that spirit, I wanted this House today to hear from a few of those who don’t work in Parliament, but who knew Jo as a friend, a mum & a colleague, and wanted to pay tribute today.

From her schoolfriends, Louise Woolard & Heidi Toulson-Bennett: “We have always known that Jo was special, and we are not surprised at how many people now know this... We loved you like a sister. You will be greatly missed, you funny, bright & wonderful girl.”

From Katie Dilks, also a university friend: “Jo was human, she had fears and she spoke about her fears but she ensured that love triumphed over fear. Jo radiated love.”

From Simon and Jenny Bond, family friends of Jo & Brendan: “We remember Jo on her wedding day tucking up her wedding dress to play football with the kids, running around the woods near their house, taking the kids on a night hike to spot badgers, cooking us nettle soup – her fingers still tingling because she couldn’t find the right gloves, dancing with us in the mud at a festival. She will leave a great hole in this world. Let it not be in vain.”

From her friend and office colleague Michelle Smyth: “I’d go round the office tidying up after her… picking up bits of clothing, cycling gear, hair straighteners to put away. She was a stickler for making sure I blocked out time in the diary so she could be with the children. I’ll miss my friend so very much, but will continue to be inspired by her.”

From family friends Tomos Livingstone & his family: “The last time we saw her, when we said a light-hearted farewell, she said this of motherhood: "I love creating moments of magic for them, it's my favourite part of being a Mum." And she did, every single day.  But, maybe without realising it, she did the same for every single person she met. She saw solutions not barriers, she attacked problems like a bank of nettles and blitzed them into soup.”

From her friend & member of this House currently in a leave of absence, Shriti Vadera: “When so much has been written and said about her death, I hope people will remember Jo for her life. More than anyone I knew, Jo truly lived her values, not just espoused them. When I lose my way and my voice, as I often do, I hope the memory of Jo’s friendship and unwavering commitment to fight for a better world will strengthen me with some of her courage and optimism.”

Of the many messages from her houseboat neighbours at Heritage Moorings, here is just one: from her neighbour Coco Zatorksi, aged 7: “She is very special for her kindness & care & will be remembered by everyone who knew her. Also people who heard about her. Her body was kindness and care.”

And lastly, from another university friend, Jane Brady: “Most of all Jo was a mum who deeply loved her children and wanted the world to be a better place for all children. The last time we spoke, she was very tired, the kids had been poorly and she wondered if she really was making a difference. I just want to say to her – look at the world now, Jo. The world is so much better for having had you in it.”

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