Members of the Pembroke W1 boat wearing suffragette ribbonsSophie Young

Rowers and coaches from Pembroke College have chosen to wear ribbons in suffragette colours — violet, green and white — to honour the memory of MP Jo Cox during their May Bumps races this week, which also marks the anniversary of her death. 

Cox was MP for the West Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen when she was murdered on 16th June last year. The MP graduated from Pembroke College in 1995, and during her time as a student took part in the May Bumps races twice, in 1993 and 1994. A great admirer of the suffragette movement, Cox even wore their colours at her wedding.

Although initially involving just the college's women's squads, yesterday all rowers from the college decided to participate in the tribute. Pembroke College also decided to fly their flag at half mast as a mark of respect.

Refugees were very important to Cox, prompting the college’s decision last year to establish the Jo Cox Memorial Studentship for Refugee and Migration Studies. The college boat club, along with its Oxford counterpart, organised an ergathon in January this year, which raised more than £500 for the studentship.

Sophie Young, who rows in the college’s W1 boat, said that “Jo Cox really exemplifies the values we as a college continue to hold and is an incredible role model, especially for the women of the college. We only recently found out that Jo had been a member of Pembroke College Boat Club, and as a club, we were keen to honour her memory, with Bumps providing the perfect opportunity”.


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Young, who is also a Women's Lower Boats Captain, added: “Having both the men's and the women's sides be involved has created more unity within the club this week, and we hope [Cox] would be proud of everything we have achieved”.