Batley Community Choir has released a single to raise money for the Jo Cox Memorial Fund.
The choir’s version of the 1979 Bette Midler song ‘The Rose’ was released on Saturday 16 July – exactly one month after she was killed.
All proceeds will go towards three causes that were close to Jo Cox's heart: The Royal Voluntary Service, HOPE not hate and The White Helmets.
The choir’s musical director Gary Skyrme said: “’The Rose’ is such a fitting song – it’s about love and hope – and Jo, who was our own Yorkshire Rose, epitomised those values.”
The 41-year-old Batley and Spen Labour MP died on 16 June after being shot and stabbed outside her constituency advice surgery in Birstall.
Kathryn Naylor, Secretary for the Batley Community Choir, said: “We put together and released this single as a response to the horrific killing of Jo Cox and the recording was an event in which the whole community could take part: community building and healing.”
More than 200 people from Batley and further afield, including community groups and organisations she had links to, joined together on 3 July in Batley Town Hall to create this tribute.
Kim Leadbeater, Jo Cox’s sister, said: “On behalf of Jo’s family I would like to say a big thank you to Batley Community Choir for producing this beautiful single in her memory.
“Jo loved to sing, although she didn’t always remember the words, and she loved the people of Batley and Spen, so it is a fitting tribute, which I know she would have thought was the perfect choice.”
This new arrangement of ‘The Rose’ was produced and recorded by Gary Skyrme, the choir’s musical director, and the cost of producing the CD was covered by a donation from Creative Scene, meaning all the proceeds can go straight to Jo Cox’s Memorial Fund.
Kirklees Council let the choir use the Town Hall free of charge, while London-based film company, Evolutionary Films, also donated their time and services by creating a video to accompany the recording, also free of charge.
Kathryn Naylor explained that the solos and choir parts were recorded first, then the schools and other groups which were associated with Jo Cox before a final session which was open to anyone.
Kathryn said: “We want to raise as much money for the fund as possible and to keep Batley singing and growing together as a Community where we genuinely do ‘have far more in common with each other than that which divides us’ (Jo Cox RIP).”
Following Jo Cox’s death the Batley Community Choir was initially asked to sing a tribute by Channel 4’s The Last Leg and their live performance of ‘The Rose’ was broadcast from All Saints Church, Batley.
They were later contacted by the organisers of the More in Common event on Wednesday 22 June, which would have been Jo Cox’s 42nd birthday, and the Choir sang ‘The Rose’ again.
Batley Community Choir was formed in September 2014 using seed-funding given to local churches by the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, the former Bishop of Wakefield.
The Choir has continued to grow and they now rehearse regularly at All Saints Church, Batley.
A limited edition CD is available on the Choir’s website at £1.99: www.batleysings.org/buy-the-rose
To see Evolutionary Films’ video alongside the Choir’s version of ‘The Rose’, please follow this YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICyPQlCc0Qk