The annual Joseph Mairs Memorial will be held on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. (File photo)

The annual Joseph Mairs Memorial will be held on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. (File photo)

Mairs Memorial revised due to COVID, but going ahead

Meet at 1 p.m. in the parking area of St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hall

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.”

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