PCBC Row for Jo

by Alice Oates

Pembroke is delighted that the rowers of Pembroke College Boat Club have once again chosen to wear ribbons in the memory of Jo Cox.

In both 2017 and 2018 the anniversary of Jo’s murder on the 16th June has fallen within the annual May Bumps races. Jo rowed in the 2nd and 3rd boats at Pembroke during her time here (1992-1995). Wishing to mark the date in a visible way, alumnus and PCBC coach Stephen Halliday (1961) had the idea of giving rowers a ribbon in the suffragette colours to wear as they raced.

“I attended her memorial service in the chapel where I heard tributes from her sister Kim, and a Pembroke contemporary. I learned of her fierce advocacy of the causes of the underprivileged including the poor, minority ethnic groups and victims of war, notably refugees. I also learned that she was an admirer of the Suffragettes and wore their colours at her wedding – green, white and violet.

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W2 wearing their ribbons

“I realised that the first anniversary of her death would fall on Friday, 16th June, 2017 – also the Friday of May Week and penultimate day of the bumps. At the time I was coaching the Pembroke third women’s boat (W3) and suggested to them that it would be appropriate for them to wear ribbons in those colours on that day while rowing. The idea was adopted with enthusiasm and spread to all the Pembroke boats, men and women.”

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W3 at the Pembroke Boathouse

The colours also remind us of another important anniversary: 2018 marks the 100 years of women’s suffrage.  Stephen has once again kindly provided ribbons, and our crews are proudly wearing them as they compete in the Bumps races, which conclude today.