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Cyclists set off on five-day ride to London in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox

Kim Leadbeater with her parents Gordon and Jean Leadbeater (Steve Parsons/PA)
Kim Leadbeater with her parents Gordon and Jean Leadbeater (Steve Parsons/PA)

The sister of murdered MP Jo Cox has led 75 cyclist off at the start of a 288-mile journey to London to remember the mother of two.

Kim Leadbeater, who now represents Mrs Cox’s old seat of Batley & Spen in West Yorkshire, started the annual five-day Jo Cox Way ride from Princess Mary Athletics Stadium in Cleckheaton, which organisers said saw the biggest turnout yet in the six years of the event.

Ms Leadbeater has been involved in all six previous rides and on Wednesday she led the cyclists out of the stadium before getting off her bike to join the support team who accompany the riders, who are aged from 18 to 76.

She said: “Jo has such a powerful legacy and it’s fantastic that more people than ever want to be part of that and show that we really do have more in common than that which divides us.

“Having cycled all the way from Batley and Spen to London in previous years, this time I wanted to show my gratitude to the riders who are cycling in Jo’s name by being part of the support crew, which plays such a valuable part in the ride.

“I feel a bit guilty not cycling the whole route, but I know how important it is to provide practical and moral assistance to the riders, along with flapjack and bananas.

“The Jo Cox Way is a brilliant example of creating something positive and meaningful from what was a truly unbelievable and horrific event.”

The ride, sponsored by Drop Clothing in Heckmondwike, will finish at Flat Iron Square in Southwark, south London, on Sunday, with overnight stops in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire and Middlesex.

As well as cycling 288 miles, riders will tackle 15,000 feet in climbs, the organising team said.

Last week Ms Leadbeater and Mrs Cox’s parents, Jean and Gordon Leadbeater, said they were “truly amazed” at the record number of cyclists taking part in this year’s ride, which was started in 2016 by North Yorkshire businessman and keen cyclist Sarfraz Mian.

Labour MP Mrs Cox was murdered in her constituency in June 2016.

– More details about the Jo Cox Way can be found at www.justgiving.com/campaign/thejocoxway2022