A TOWERING statue to honour the UK’s kindest hero has been unveiled on London’s iconic Southbank today – and you may not have heard of them.
Unsung hero and inspiration, Jo Newby, 52, from East Yorkshire, has received the incredible accolade thanks to her tireless efforts to help hundreds of members of the community during the past two decades and better the lives of local pan-disabled youths and children in need.
The nationwide ‘#MyKINDHero’ search was launched earlier this year to uncover the UK’s kind hero, receiving nearly 500 heart-warming nominations.
Following an extensive judging process, big-hearted Jo was bestowed the honour, having been nominated by her husband of 21 years, Chris.
The statue, arranged by healthy snack bar brand, KIND Snacks, which stands at four metres tall on Southbank’s Observation Point, was created using 3D scanning technology and is made from recycled materials.
Standing upon a recycled wooden plinth, the design encapsulates the ways Jo has gone above and beyond in her selfless acts.
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Jo has opened her home time and time again fostering an astounding 92 children to date.
She went on to adopt a child with additional needs, nursing him through a brain injury coma, as well as supporting and caring for her husband, Chris, during his battle with pancreatic cancer.
To support and help the disadvantaged, she also became a co-founder of Barton Inclusive Football Club Hull, consisting of three competitive pan-disability football teams for children and young adults in the area.
Jo’s statue is holding 92 balloons with one hand – each symbolising one child she has fostered – and a pair of children’s football boots in the other and resting her foot on a football, to represent the football teams she has helped to pioneer.
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Jo Newby, 52, of East Yorkshire said: “It’s all so surreal… I can’t believe it. I just get on with my day to day and don’t ever stop to think about the wider impact that I may be having – all I think about is the children and making sure they feel happy, included and safe.
“I’m so honoured to be chosen as the UK’s kind hero, and for my husband Chris to have nominated me without my knowing. The world is so full of sadness and anger. I just hope that people can see what an impact kindness has on others.”
Jo’s husband, Chris Newby of East Yorkshire, said: “To me, Jo is the most amazing, kind and selfless woman in the world, so when I saw #MyKINDhero callout I had to put her forward.
“To have her recognised and identified as the UK’s kind hero makes me burst with pride.
"I hope she’ll now recognise the phenomenal impact she has had on countless people, and how many lives she has touched. I’m absolutely made up that the rest of the country can see what I see every day: a hero."
KIND Snacks has launched the commemorative statue to inspire Brits to follow Jo’s lead and commit more acts of kindness – in its bid to build a kinder world.
Spokesperson Sam Wainwright said: “We’ve been taken aback by the incredible stories of kindness shared with us over the past couple of months.
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"It’s shown us that while we hear of bad things happening in the world all too often, people in communities across the UK are going above and beyond to help each other every day. None more so than Jo.
“If anyone deserves their own statue, it’s Jo. The impact she’s had through her commitment to helping others in need of support is truly inspiring, especially over such a long period of time. We’re just happy to help celebrate someone so deserving of recognition”.
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