The Jo Cox Way – a cycle ride from West Yorkshire to London in memory of the Labour MP – has received backing from Orchard FM along with other leading businesses in the region and Sir Gary Verity, Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive and newly appointed deputy lieutenant of West Yorkshire, who will set the 50 cyclists off on their five-day journey this month.
“Jo's legacy is one that continues to inspire people right across the country,” he said. “Undertaking a ride like this, which brings communities together and promotes healthy living, kindness and tolerance, is a wholly fitting tribute and I am honoured to have been asked to start it. Cycling 282 miles in five days is no mean feat and I wish everyone taking part the very best of luck.”
This is the third annual Jo Cox Way, with cyclists leaving the Princess Mary Stadium, Cleckheaton, in Jo's Batley & Spen constituency, on Wednesday 25 July. This year, they will be joined for the entire route by the late MP's sister, Kim Leadbeater, who will take part in the epic ride designed to highlight the resilience of communities that have been struck by acts of terror and raise awareness of groups across the country who work tirelessly to bring people together. The ride also raises the profile of the Jo Cox Foundation, a charity set up to advance the causes championed by Jo, and the More in Common movement.
The Jo Cox Way has continued to secure support and provide inspiration to individuals and organisations throughout the country. PURE Business Group, with offices in York and Merseyside, is the ride's headline sponsor this year.
Phil Hodgkinson, its chief executive officer, said: “We have a very inclusive approach both towards our colleagues and the wider community. We embark on many diverse and far-reaching fundraising projects and events locally and nationwide, and community and inclusion are very high on our agenda. Having been involved in other events supporting the Jo Cox Foundation and More in Common, the opportunity to sponsor this fantastic event required no consideration.”
All cyclists’ jerseys are being sponsored by Huddersfield firm FM Energy and its sister business Orchard FM, a facilities management company, Specialist Glass Products of Milnsbridge and Hirsche Automotive of Heckmondwike.
Gareth Henderson, founder of FM Energy and Orchard FM, said: “Our support of The Jo Cox Way fits well with the official launch of Energy Lifeline, our new fuel fund that will see the business community working together with local charities to help vulnerable individuals and families – something that gets right to the heart of Jo's philosophy.”
The Jo Cox Way will wind its way through many towns and villages as it heads from north to south. The route is:
DAY 1: Wednesday 25 July – Cleckheaton to Great Longstone, nr Bakewell (49 miles/6 hrs 50 mins) https://bit.ly/2sCaH0X & https://bit.ly/2xSBHyd
DAY 2: Thursday 26 July – Great Longstone, nr Bakewell, to Market Bosworth (66 miles/6 hrs 30 mins) https://bit.ly/2JnSZbO
DAY 3: Friday 27 July – Market Bosworth to Banbury (70 miles/6 hrs) https://bit.ly/2Ma7m1m
DAY 4: Saturday 28 July – Banbury to Uxbridge (70 miles/6 hrs) https://bit.ly/2Lz8dr8
DAY 5: Sunday 29 July – Uxbridge to London (27 miles/3 hrs 40 mins) https://bit.ly/2HtelPj
(For full details of daily routes, click on the links above and see the attached document.)
The pedal-powered initiative is the brainchild of North Yorkshire businessman Sarfraz Mian, holder of the British Empire Medal for services to industry. “Kim has supported us from the very beginning and I am thrilled that she is now getting on her bike to join us,” he said. “I never knew Jo, but I consider it a real privilege to be able to help continue the work that she was so passionate about.
“We are all extremely proud to wear the '#moreincommon' wording on our jerseys. This was taken from Jo's maiden speech in the House of Commons when she said, ‘We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.’ The Jo Cox Way is our tribute to her life, her beliefs and the spirit of community that exists throughout the country in our villages, towns and cities.”
Members of the public are invited to cheer on the cyclists at the start of each stage and there is an open invitation for anyone wishing to show their support to join the ride for part of a day as it passes through their region. The ride's arrival at Bankside will see the cyclists greeted by members of community support groups, including those from Grenfell Tower and Borough Market.
For more information, visit facebook.com/thejocoxway and letsride.co.uk. Donations can be made at https://bit.ly/2spW2Fj.