Organizers of the Joseph Mairs Memorial planned for Sunday, Jan. 23 in Ladysmith have had to revise their program due to the surge of COVID-19 cases.
“We have been a bit scuppered by the public health restrictions and the caution of the parish — all understandable. Everyone is doing their best,” said a press release.
Attendees will now meet at 1 p.m. in the parking area of St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hall, 1135 4th Ave. Ladysmith. There will not be a guest speaker or live music as had been planned. A planned gathering at Coffee on the Moon in Duncan set for Friday evening with John Clarke, who was to be the guest speaker has also been cancelled.
There will be a banner, a piper and the graveside service.
“Please come and support this event despite the modified format — no music and no speaker but the most important thing — the enthusiasm people have for celebrating the resistance the miners displayed to the owners and a system that treated workers like draught animals,” the release said.
The Joseph Mairs Memorial is an annual event that remembers labour martyr Mairs, who died in 1914, a month short of his 22nd birthday, after being arrested by government troops during a bitter labour dispute between coal miners and mine owners. Mairs was a miner and a trade unionist.
Coal miners were trying to get an eight hour day, health and safety regulations in a notoriously dangerous line of work, and union recognition.
Mairs was buried in the Ladysmith Cemetery with the inscription “A Martyr to a Noble Cause - The Emancipation of His Fellow Men.”