A day of sadness and pride as Yorkshire hero Bernard Kenny is recognised at Buckingham Palace

Doreen Kenny receives her late husband's George Medal from the Queen.
Doreen Kenny receives her late husband's George Medal from the Queen.

His bravery helped restore at least some faith in humanity on one of Yorkshire’s darkest days.

Bernard Kenny was hailed as a true British hero after trying to save MP Jo Cox during the cowardly attack that claimed her life.

And this summer, a year after the murder, Mr Kenny was named as a recipient of the George Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Sadly, he never got the chance to collect the medal, losing his fight against cancer just weeks after the award was announced.

So today it fell to his widow, Doreen, to pick up the honour on his behalf from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Mrs Kenny was at her much-loved husband’s side when he died at the age of 79 in August.

A miner for 40 years, Mr Kenny was a member of the Gomersal Mines Rescue team which went to the aid of victims of the Lofthouse pit disaster in 1973.

Tributes poured in following his death, with Mrs Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, saying: “Bernard was a true hero and a shining example of Yorkshire and British bravery.”

She added: “We will be forever grateful for the attempt he made to intervene when Jo was killed.”

Tracy Brabin, who was elected MP for Batley and Spen following Mrs Cox’s death, said: “I hope [his family] will take comfort in the fact that Bernard will forever be remembered as a true hero, both as a member of the miners’ rescue team and as a constituent of Batley and Spen who risked his life to protect Jo Cox.”

Speaking following the announcement in June that he had been chosen to receive the George Medal, Mr Kenny said he was “honoured”.

Prior to his death he was also presented with a medal from the Order of St John.

The medal was crafted in gold, a rare tribute made in recognition of what the Order described as his “conspicuous” bravery.

Mrs Cox was attacked by right-wing extremist Thomas Mair as she made her way to a constituency surgery in Mr Kenny’s home village of Birstall on June 16 last year.

He was stabbed in the chest after intervening and had to undergo surgery at Leeds General Infirmary.

The George Medal is a civilian honour that recognises acts of great bravery.

A different honour, the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, was awarded to PC Craig Nicholls and PC Jonathan Wright, the police officers who arrested Mair after the attack on Mrs Cox.

The MP’s caseworker, Sandra Major, who witnessed the killing, was made an MBE.