Tribute ride to murdered MP Jo Cox will pass through Milton Keynes
Over 70 cyclists will be travelling through the borough as they wend their way from Jo’s constituency in West Yorkshire to London.
A tribute to Jo Cox will be passing through Milton Keynes this summer as 70-plus cyclists will honour the murdered MP.
Led by Kim Leadbeater, MBE, Jo’s sister, the bike riders are cycling 280-mile, five-day journey flying the flag for community spirit and supporting causes that were important to Jo.
Money raised from this bike ride starting on July 28 and finishing on August 1, will go to the Jo Cox Foundation. The foundation's mission statement is to 'create a more compassionate society that recognises that we have more in common than that which divides us.'
This is an annual event, Leadbeater and co. carry out in memory of Jo each year, last year's event had to be held virtually due to the pandemic.
The event is organised by the Jo Cox Foundation and has been titled the Jo Cox Way.
As well as Milton Keynes, riders of mixed abilities will travel through Buxton, Derbyshire, Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, Uxbridge and Middlesex before finishing in London.
The cycle will begin at Cox's former constituency in West Yorkshire where she was the MP for Batley & Spen.
Kim, who was included in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for her services to social cohesion and loneliness, said: “I am delighted and extremely excited that the Jo Cox Way ride is back, providing a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages and different backgrounds to connect and engage with one another.
“The past 12 months has been incredibly challenging for us all, as so many people have been affected by lockdown and physical distancing. But it is amazing to see that, despite all the difficulties, many people’s commitment to making a difference has only grown stronger, with cyclists joining together for a reinvigorated ride to celebrate the fact that we have ‘far more in common than that which divides us’ – words from Jo’s maiden speech in Parliament.”
The wheels on this pedal-powered initiative were set in motion five years ago by North Yorkshire business executive and keen cyclist Sarfraz Mian. “This year’s ride is going to play an important role in helping to establish a new normal for us all,” he said. “Individuals taking part will form lasting friendships through this shared experience and we will celebrate community in the towns and villages we ride through and do our bit to bring business to local hotels, shops, cafés and pubs as we wend our way through the countryside.
“I never actually met Jo, but her belief in creating a fairer, kinder world for everyone really touched me and spurred me on to develop the Jo Cox Way so that I and my fellow cyclists can help continue her work and celebrate her big heart, generosity of spirit and commitment to bring about change.”
Event organisers advise the capacity is full for people wishing to complete the full five-day challenge, but riders can join the group as a day rider on different sections of the journey. Details on how to join can be found on the Jo Cox Way website.
People can also participate virtually again, pledging miles online.
“We introduced this model last year, when Covid brought a halt to our original plans, and couldn’t believe just how successful it was,” explained Kim. “We set a target of 25,000 miles – the distance required to circumnavigate the globe – and were astounded to see this smashed by families, community groups, friends and individuals who clocked up a staggering 30,267 miles between them.
“Cyclists loved taking part and really rose to the challenge, so the virtual ride is back by popular demand – and this time we are aiming to cycle twice around the world, a total of 50,000 miles!"
Donations can be made to the Jo Cox Foundation via a fundraising page that can be found at virginmoneygiving.com/fund/jocoxway2021.