The pensioner hailed a hero for trying to save MP Jo Cox has died peacefully at his home aged 79.

The former miner - who was awarded a George Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours - gave no thought to his own life and fearlessly sprang into action when right wing extremist Thomas Mair attacked Mrs Cox outside Birstall Library on 16 June, 2016.

Mr Kenny, a grandfather, was lucky not to lose his own life after he was stabbed in the stomach with a 10ins blade while trying to save the popular Labour MP who represented Batley and Spen.

He watched in horror as she fell to the floor in a pool of blood – then ran from his car in a desperate bid to save her life.

Bernard Kenny with wife Doreen

But he was hit by the blade which pierced his liver, narrowly missing his heart and other major organs.

Mr Kenny’s son, Phil Kenny, a retired Geography teacher from Birstall, who by a strange coincidence taught the young Jo Cox Geography at Heckmondwike Grammar School, said his father died at 3.15am on Monday, August 14 with his wife Doreen at his side.

Mr Kenny said his father had been diagnosed with cancer in June and the funeral would be held at a date yet to be arranged at St Patrick’s RC Church in Birstall which he and his wife attended regularly.

He said: “Father David Bulmer administered the Last Rites on Sunday morning. He went very peacefully and he was not suffering. He wanted to die at home and he did so.”

As for his father’s heroism in tackling Jo Cox’s killer he said it was typical of his father’s bravery having been a member of the miners rescue team for many years.

Phil said: “It was a shock when I got the phone call. We thought at first that he had lost his life.

“But pretty quickly we found out that he was going to survive. It was very much in keeping with him as a man. We weren’t a bit surprised!”

However, he said he failed to receive the George Cross before he died as it was only awarded in June.

Phil added: “It was a very special moment when that was announced. He didn’t tell his family. He kept it a secret right up until the moment that it was revealed to the press. We think it has to be presented by a member of the Royal family so we expect he will receive it posthumously and probably Doreen will be presented with it.

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“And he never spoke about it to the media. My dad could have been on wall-to-wall TV but he chose not to. He was a very private, unassuming, family man. Stubborn, kind and fair. An excellent bloke.”

He said his dad who was Batley born and bred, was a very keen Huddersfield Town fan and had taken him as a six-year-old boy to his first Town match against Middlesbrough FC during Easter 1965 when Town thrashed them 6-0.

Mr Kenny said: “He had been a season ticket holder for the last 15-20 years and I’m glad he was able to go to Wembley for the play-off final. There was a minibus which I organised. My wife Jill came and Doreen too. He enjoyed himself thoroughly.”

Mr Kenny was far too ill to even think about attending Town’s first match in the Premier League against Crystal Palace on Saturday but his son said: “We put the radio commentary on for him but he was unconscious at the time.

Bernard Kenny - standing in yellow top and blue cap - with wife Doreen (red top) next to him and friends

“I read him all the reports from the match though I don’t know if he could understand any of it but I like to think that he did. It’s nice to think that we won 3-0 and that he died knowing Town were top of the Premier League briefly!”

At Mair’s trial at the Old Bailey, the jury heard Mr Kenny was waiting for his wife outside the library when he saw Mair going “berserk”.

He said in statement to police: “I thought if I could jump on to the back I could take him down.

“I thought he was thumping her until I saw the blood. I saw he had a knife in his hands.

Bernard Kenny, who has been awarded the George Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours List after he was stabbed in the abdomen as he tried to stop neo-Nazi Thomas Mair attacking MP Jo Cox outside her constituency surgery in Yorkshire.
Bernard Kenny was awarded the George Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours List

“Just as I got short of him, he turned around and saw me. He shoved the knife in and it hit me in the stomach. The blood started pouring out between my fingers. I saw the blood and I thought ‘Oh my God’.”

After being discharged from hospital, Mr Kenny and his family passed their sincere condolences to the family of Mrs Cox.

Following the attack more than 80,000 people signed an online petition calling for Mr Kenny to be awarded the George Medal for his bravery – a request which was acceded to by the authorities.

When he received it Mr Kenny who shared the same birthday as Mrs Cox, said: “I am honoured to receive such an award.”

Chilling CCTV footage shows Thomas Mair's movements the day he murdered Jo Cox MP

PCs Craig Nicholls and Jonathan Wright, who arrested Mair, also received Queen’s Gallantry Medals after they pursued him despite knowing he might have a gun and a knife.

But it was not his only act of heroism. He spent 40 years working in the industry was part of the rescue teams at the Lofthouse mining disaster in 1973.

He was a member of the Gomersal Mines Rescue Team which tried to rescue victims of the disaster, in which seven men lost their lives in a flooded pit.