On a damp and drizzly June morning, 60 Year 6 and 7 students set off from Batley Grammar School heading for Batley market place. We were due to meet with around 800 students from schools across our community, to unite as one and display that we have More in Common. This walk, as the title suggests, was in memory of the late MP Jo Cox who had tragically lost her life a year beforehand.
Before the day a huge amount of preparation had been undertaken, including seeking funding for transport, designing a safe walking route between the market place and the Batley Bulldog’s stadium and organising countless volunteers to support the walk. In addition to these organisational challenges students were provided with a t-shirt (over a 1000 of which were kindly provided free by local print company PPG), each school received a blank banner to which they would add their own design. In addition 1000 white roses were knitted for students to wear on the day. Before the walk even began there had been a huge amount of effort expended to make it a success.
At around 10am the long procession of students set off from the market place, led by a variety of drummer, all carrying their banners and in individual school colours (we got a lovely dark red!). The sight and sound of almost 1000 people walking, singing and dancing was one to behold. The local community came out to support us; there were camera phones aplenty as well as formal media coverage and this all added to the excellent atmosphere. Despite the weather, which cleared up throughout the day, the students’ spirits were not dampened and they showed great resilience and community spirit by including everyone and walking in a proud and orderly manner.
Once we arrived at the Bulldog’s stadium, breakfast was provided by Huddersfield Town’s academy staff and we sat in the stands to eat this while other schools filed in. Soon there was a sea of colour and we began a series of activities including painting, singing, dancing and listening to poetry. The day ended with a speech from Jo Cox’s sister and mother, local organisers and religious leaders. We continued to get media coverage and we even had a live link on the BBC. Overall the day was fantastic; it really did bring the community together and demonstrate that we have more in common than that which divides us. Jo’s memory will live on and the students and staff involved will remember this day for many years to come.