Politi­cian’s mur­der shocks Green’s Har­bour res­i­dents

Slain Bri­tish MP Jo Cox vis­ited area where hus­band’s par­ents worked as teach­ers

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.”

TWIT­TER PHOTO

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

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