Jo Cox Funeral: Hundreds Line Streets With White Roses For Murdered MP

Jo Cox
School children and teachers throw flowers on to the hearse carrying murdered Member of Parliament Jo Cox's as her funeral cortege will passes through Heckmondwike in northern Britain, July 15, 2016. Andrew Yates/Reuters

Hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their respects to the late Labour MP Jo Cox, whose murder shocked Britain in the run-up to last month's EU referendum, ahead of her private funeral on Thursday.

Cox's funeral cortege travelled through her Batley and Spen constituency, a semi-rural area in West Yorkshire, near the city of Leeds, slowing down in the town of Heckmondwike before continuing to Batley.

Mourners carried white roses—the symbol of Yorkshire—and schoolchildren stood solemnly by the side of the road in their blue jumpers as the cortege passed.

Some were only a few years older than Cox's son, Cuillin, five. He and his sister, Lejla, three, were in the back seat of one of the funeral cars with their father, Brendan, as they drove towards Batley for a private service. Lejla waved at the crowd, The Guardian reported.

Someone had attached a poster to lamp posts and traffic lights, with a drawing of Cox protected in a plastic wallet. "Today I pledge to #LoveLikeJo" read the message, alongside a quote from her maiden speech: "Far more unites us than divides us."

The mother of two young children died on June 16 after being shot and stabbed outside a library in Birstall. Her death provoked a wave of shock around the U.K. and across the world.

Cox's widower, Brendan, led tributes to his wife on Twitter before the funeral this morning. He said he was thinking of "all the victims of hate today" as details of the attack in Nice were reported.

Earlier this week, Cox's family issued a statement, which said: "We have been overwhelmed and touched by the love and support people have shown us since Jo's death. We are deeply grateful to all who have reached out to us.

"Knowing that so many people share both our grief and our determination to take forward Jo's legacy is a source of great strength at what otherwise feels like a very bleak time.

"Now, particularly for the children, we have decided that Jo's funeral will be a very small and private family affair. Anybody from the local community who would like to pay their respects is welcome to gather along the areas outlined as we make this last journey.

"Following this, we would ask everyone to respect our privacy to enable us to grieve and rebuild as a family."

Jo Cox died a little over a year after she was elected and her murder overshadowed the final days of referendum campaigning. Cox, who was an ardent supporter of Britain remaining in Europe, had campaigned for Syrian refugees and had praised the positive impact immigration had had on her constituency.

A 52-year-old local man, Thomas Mair, has been charged with Cox's murder and will go on trial in November.