Today on International Workers’ Memorial Day, St Helens Borough remembers those that have lost their lives at the workplace.
Held annually on 28 April, International Workers’ Memorial Day is a time to remember workers killed, disabled, injured, or made unwell by their work and promote campaigns in the fight for health and safety improvements to prevent further tragedies from happening.
In St Helens, a small memorial event – in line with coronavirus restrictions – was held at the Workers’ Memorial statue in Vera Page Park where dignitaries, including the Mayor of St Helens, laid wreaths.
Unveiled in 2019, the statue is made from old tools and depicts an industrial worker holding aloft a child.
A cloak made especially for the occasion out of purple ribbons has been draped over the statue and will remain on display until the rest of the week as a fitting tribute.
John Riley, Trustee of the Workers Memorial who made the cloak, said: “The purple forget-me-not is the flower of the Workers Memorial Day to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day.
“ I’ve created this cloak to mark the extraordinary circumstances we all find ourselves in and to honour and thank those who are continuing to put themselves at risk, keeping the country running, and to acknowledge those that have paid the ultimate price, as well as the families and friends left behind.”
Paying his respects, Mayor of St Helens, Paul McQuade, said: “Thousands of people around the UK die each year from work-related health and accidents, and sadly there have been many incidents this past year of brave key workers putting their lives on the line in the fight against Covid-19.
“As an industrial borough which has played a key part in history throughout the ages, we’ve also experienced awful tragedies like the Wood Pit mining disaster of 1878 which claimed hundreds of lives, so it’s important we commemorate days like this – and where more fitting than our very own Workers’ Memorial statue which is a lasting reminder of those taken far too soon that they will never be forgotten.”
The nearby Steve Prescott Bridge will also be lit up purple this evening to mark the occasion.