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The legacy of the late Jo Cox MP is being kept alive through rugby league with a delegation of VIPs heading to Pakistan to launch a girls’ training initiative in conjunction with schools across West Yorkshire.

Involving BARA (British Asian Rugby Association) founder and former England RL international Ikram Butt, Oasis Lister Academy Headteacher Ian Simpson, and Craig Taylor of Batley Bulldogs, the project will identify 15 girls from Kirklees, Bradford and Leeds. They will be mentored by a collaboration of partners including the Chief Superintendent of West Yorkshire Police Mabs Hussain, Major Marr (Head of Engagement, British Army, Yorkshire & Humber) and Chris Green (founder of the White Ribbon Campaign which campaigns against violence against women & girls) amongst others.

Ikram explained: “These girls will be trained to go into primary and secondary schools here in the UK, to coach sport activities and classroom based sessions, sharing and promoting the values and vision of Jo Cox MP. On the strength of this training, the girls will visit schools in Pakistan, identified during our visit in October, next year.

“During our week long visit over October half-term, we will meet with Pakistani government officials in Islamabad and Azad Kashmir, officials at the British Embassy, Director General of the Pakistan Sports Board and head teachers from various schools. On the first Sunday of our visit, there will be a girl’s rugby tournament held in Islamabad organised by the pioneering Islamabad Rugby Club, where we will present the winners with the Jo Cox MP Memorial Trophy.

“The collaboration of partners is already working towards creating an educational resource pack to be used in the schools which we hope will be embraced by our global leaders and delivered in schools on a global scale. Schools that sign up and fulfil the requirements will be presented with the Jo Cox MP International Memorial Award,” added Ikram.