Jo Cox's legacy brings Knaresborough residents together

A community success: residents of Princess Drive enjoying the street party.
A community success: residents of Princess Drive enjoying the street party.

The legacy of MP Jo Cox has built a stronger community among the residents of Princess Drive in Knaresborough, who organised a street party as part of The Great Get Together honouring her memory.

In a joyous celebration of Jo’s belief that we have more in common than what divides us, some neighbours met for the first time after living in the street for more than a decade.

Victoria Matthews-Patel, who has been a resident for 15 years, said: “I live at the bottom of the cul-de-sac, and when you’re out walking the dog, you get to a certain point in the street where you realise that you don’t know anyone, or you don’t many people at least.

“I knew people well where I am, but not as much further on. This street party has really changed that, I met some people who I’ve lived on the same street with for years but have never spent any time with them, maybe at most I had said hello.

“Jo Cox’s message that we have more in common is really powerful, in our case the only immediate thing we really have in common is that we live on the same street. But that’s enough, and it’s really brought us together.

“Loneliness is a real issue and we’re not as aware of it as we should be. It’s very hard to know when someone is lonely sometimes, so it’s important that we do take more notice of it.”

Victoria said a major fire at Princess Drive in 2012 “sowed the seeds” of community spirit, but Jo Cox’s campaign has helped to extend it.

She said: “We know each other now. When we see each other, I think we’re more likely to say hello and have a conversation.

“I think these days people just expect things to be how they are. You work, come home, and there isn’t that chance to speak to each other.

“You just get in and out of the car, and that’s it. But we have more in common with each other than we think, and it’s important to reach out to each other. But it’s quite hard to in the days of social media.

“This has really helped to build relationships among people of all ages who attended.

“We wanted to remember Jo Cox, her message really resonated with us.”

The party was organised by Christine Graham, Lesley Foley and Elaine Broadbent, and £192 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support.