Greenbelt festival holds debate on aftermath of Jo Cox murder

Batley vicar. Mark Umpleby,  Kirklees interfaith and Muslim women's worker, Fakhara Rehman, and Jo Cox's sister, Kim Leadbeater, filled the marquee to overflowing when they took to the stage at the Greenbelt festival last weekend to tell their stories of life in Batley and Spen in the aftermath of Jo's murder in June 2016. 


Their session on Sunday evening in the 'Treehouse' venue at the national event, which drew hundreds of festival goers, was entitled: More in Common - How an act designed to drive a community apart, brought it together.


Greenbelt, the annual festival of arts, faith and justice underpinned by a Christian worldview is set on the Boughton Estate, Kettering and has taken place every August Bank Holiday since 1974.


The Revd Mark Umpleby, associate priest in the United Benefice of Batley, said he was excited about being part of Greenbelt and felt privileged to have been offered to share the stage to talk about Jo Cox's legacy. After the talk he tweeted: "Putting Batley & Spen on the map for the right reasons @greenbelt A fantastic festival full of wonderful people. Thank you for having us ."


Said Mark: "It's been a privilege to be part of an amazing group of people - family and friends - who have walked alongside Jo's family locally here in West Yorkshire since the tragic events of June 2016. Greenbelt Festival have invited Kim Leadbeater (Jo's sister), Fakhera Rehman (a local member of the More in Common group) and myself to share a little about the effects of Jo's death and her legacy here in her constituency of Batley & Spen in the Diocese of Leeds.

"We talked about how the More in Common Batley & Spen group emerged locally and the work that we have been doing and the events of the Great Get Together over the anniversary weekend of Jo's murder.  

"We've worked together on this with men and women of good will of different faiths and none. Our sense of togetherness in difference was clear for all to see  - we know there are differences but we never forget the togetherness and work for the common good. My personal involvement with family and friends has been a huge privilege - this has been - and continues to be - a journey of hope, love and  learning together.
"As we continue to work together I've seen that as we build our home together here in Batley & Spen, God works  with us  and our common working together speaks of him,' he added.

Fakhara Rehman, is a community activist and spokesperson for Muslim communities, especially women. She is a founding member of the More in Common group founded in Batley and Spen following the murder of MP Jo Cox.

She has a background in education, cohesion and faith based work, and promotes tolerance and understanding across communities, faiths and neighbourhoods.

Greenbelt put this up on their website on the anniversary of Jo's death-




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