Politician’s murder shocks Green’s Harbour residents
Slain British MP Jo Cox visited area where husband’s parents worked as teachers
The murder of a British politician is sending shockwaves all over the world. The sadness felt over the tragic death of Jo Cox extends to a rural Newfoundland town.
Henry Crocker and Ray Penney of Green’s Harbour both met Jo Cox a few years ago when she and her husband Brendan were in the community to help celebrate the wedding anniversary of Brendan’s parents, Gordon and Sheila Cox.
Before moving back to their home country of England, Gordon and Sheila worked as music teachers in Newfoundland for a number of years in the 1970s. Gordon taught in Whitbourne, while Sheila worked at two schools in Green’s Harbour — Acreman Elementary and Ridgewood Junior High. Penney worked with Sheila at Ridgewood, and she taught Crocker’s children. They also taught in St. John’s.
“Lovely people in my opin- ion,” said Crocker of the late politician and her family. “They seemed very down-to-earth. Not someone that will come into your house and you maybe wonder if you should have conversations, because you don’t know what to say. They weren’t that kind of people. They were just like yourself — ordinary people.”
Jo Cox, who was elected to British Parliament last year as a member of the Labour Party, was shot and stabbed outside a library in Leeds, West Yorkshire last Thursday. She was six days shy of turning 42.
Although Gordon and Sheila Cox left Newfoundland and Labrador in the 1970s, they kept in touch over the years with those they met and have made multiple trips back to the province. Crocker and Penney both receive Christmas cards from the Cox family every year with a letter offering updates on what’s happening in their lives.
“They are people who are very down to earth,” Penney said. “They’re not snooty or snobby people … You couldn’t find better people.”
Crocker and Penney both were shocked when the heard the news of Jo Cox’s death, which has made international headlines.
“You never think it’s going to happen to someone you know,” said Penney, who added his wife Dot Penney was having a diffi- cult time coming to grips with the tragedy.
“When we listened to the news (Thursday) and heard that it was her, we were so shocked,” said Crocker.
“It’s a sad situation to know that young woman has been taken.”
According to Penney, Brendan Cox was not born in Newfoundland, though his older sister Anastasia was. He can also recall Brendan visiting the province as a teenager.
Brendan and Jo met when they were both working in the not-for-profit sector. They were also the parents of two young children.
Brendan released a statement shortly after his wife’s death.
“She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her,” he wrote. “Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.”
Brendan Cox shared this photo on Twitter shortly after his wife, British Member of Parliament Jo Cox, was murdered in Leeds last Thursday. Brendan’s parents used to teach in the Trinity