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Community members get together to repair graveyard in Red Bay, Labrador

Some of the volunteers that came together to fix up a graveyard and playground in Red Bay, Labrador. - Courtesy of Lisa Dempster
Some of the volunteers that came together to fix up a graveyard and playground in Red Bay, Labrador. - Courtesy of Lisa Dempster - Contributed
RED BAY, N.L. —

It’s been a pretty quiet summer in Red Bay on the south coast of Labrador — usually, there are busloads of tourists visiting the UNESCO world heritage site every day.

Recently, there was a little bit of a bustle in town, though, as a group of senior citizens got together to fix up an old graveyard and a playground.

Red Bay Mayor Mervin Layden told SaltWire Network it was great to see people work together to improve the community.

“It was great of them to come together and do that,” he said. “It was looking a bit run down up there and they did a super job of it.”

The cemetery in Red Bay that was revitalized by community members recently with a new fence. - Courtesy of Lisa Dempster
The cemetery in Red Bay that was revitalized by community members recently with a new fence. - Courtesy of Lisa Dempster

The group spent a few days replacing the fence around the graveyard and playground and tidying up the grounds.

Layden said there’s been a fair bit of volunteer work around the town this summer, with work done on trails as well. He speculated it might have something to with the easing of public health restrictions and people enjoying getting out of their homes more.

Cartwright L'Anse au Clair MHA Lisa Dempster said she was pleased to see the work being done.

“To see all those people out doing that work was touching, there’s no other word for it,” she said. “When you come into a community and see a well-cared-for cemetery, that shows people who care.”

Dempster said she was impressed community members had come together to beautify the town, but was even more impressed when she found out all material and equipment for the work was donated by Stephen and Ron Pike, a father and son from the town.

“People might have their differences in a small town, but it’s the way folks come together when they see a need that makes them so special,” she said.

Stephen Pike, who now lives in Labrador City, told SaltWire his father, who spearheaded the effort, called him and told him they’d need some assistance with the costs, so he was glad to help out.

“The old man can’t stand to see anything that needs a coat of paint or fixing,” he said. “He told me they wanted to do this and there wasn’t any money for it, so I helped out with the lumber to help get it done.”

Ron Pike, 72, said the graveyard had been deteriorating over the years and they had a number of family members interred there, so he got some equipment, money and people together.

He said he likes to stay busy and isn’t letting his advancing years slow down his volunteer work.

“We got nothing else to do,” he said. “Lying around doing nothing was never something I did. I’d rather be doing things.”

Evan Careen is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Labrador for SaltWire Network

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