MORE THAN 100 people gathered to celebrate the official opening of the new Jo Cox Community Wood in Liversedge.
Following months of hard work by the Spen Valley Civic Society and volunteers from across the community, the site off Quaker Lane was opened to the public on Sunday.
The 1.5-hectare stretch of land has been transformed – with help from Biffa Award funding, Kirklees Council, the Woodland Trust and the Department for Environ-ment, Food and Rural Affairs – into a haven with over 1,000 trees planted and new paths, fences, gates, picnic tables and benches installed. Created in memory of the late Batley & Spen MP, the wood will be a communal area as well as being used by local schools for outdoor learning.
Mrs Cox’s parents Jean and Gordon Leadbeater, and sister Kim, attended the official opening and have already planted an oak tree in her memory.
They also unveiled an information board which includes details of Mrs Cox’s life and work, plus pictures drawn by her children Cuillin and Lejla.
MP Tracy Brabin was among special guests who attended, alongside local councillors and volunteers who made it possible.
Kim said: “This is a fantastic tribute to Jo.
“She loved nature and the outdoors and the idea of such a beautiful place where people from all backgrounds can come together is something she would have loved.
“I would like to thank everyone from Spen Valley Civic Society, the funders and all the amazing volunteers who have worked so hard to make this project happen, and I look forward to seeing many people enjoying spending time in Jo’s wood in the coming months and years.”
Max Rathmell, chairman of the civic society, said: “This is our biggest-ever project.
“Thank you to our funders and the hundreds of people from all sections of the community, who’ve come together to create this wood.
“We feel it is a fitting tribute to Jo Cox and her values. We now ask local people to visit regularly, enjoy the outdoors and help share the responsibility for looking after this wood so that humans and wildlife can benefit from it for many years to come.”