A group of well-known local musicians is banding together next month to help a well-known author who lost his home in a fire.
A benefit concert for Earl B. Pilgrim will be held Sunday, June 10 at Wesley United Church on Patrick Street.
Pilgrim’s home in Roddickton was destroyed by fire on Easter Sunday. The devastating loss included years of his work as an author, along with numerous awards.
“The loss Uncle Earl has endured in the last few years has been overwhelming — his two brothers, his wife (Beatrice in 2016) and now his home to a devastating fire,” said local singer/songwriter Karla Pilgrim, Earl Pilgrim’s niece, who is organizing the event.
“Most of what Uncle Earl has lost is impossible to replace, but we’re hoping we can help just a little bit with the things he will need to rebuild in whichever way he chooses.”
Born in St. Anthony in 1939, Earl B. Pilgrim received his early education in Roddickton, later studying forestry at the College of Trades and Technology in St. John’s.
He began his career in 1960 as an infantryman in the Canadian army, serving with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. While there, he became involved in boxing, eventually becoming the Canadian light heavyweight champion.
Following a stint in the forces, he took a job as a forest ranger with the Newfoundland and Labrador Forestry Department. During this time, he came to recognize the plight of the big-game population on Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula. After nine years
as a forest warden, he became a wildlife protection officer with the Newfoundland Wildlife Service.
After the fire, Karla Pilgrim said, many peopled asked her whether there would be a benefit concert.
“I’m usually the one performing, so to be on this end of it is different. I knew that if it was done right it could really be something special,” said Pilgrim, who called on her cousin, Janet Cull, also a successful local singer, to help.
“My favourite part of all of this is that it’s happening in a church. Uncle Earl is a religious man, and myself and Janet grew up singing in church. It’s what makes sense.
“And we’re so grateful to the performers who agreed to do the show without a second thought.”
Besides Pilgrim, her group The Secrets and Cull, other local musicians scheduled to perform include Chris Andrews, Peter Halley, Darrin Martin, Evan Smith, Rachel Cousins, Doug and Todd Randell, and Jackie Sullivan.
Tickets go on sale Friday at Wesley United Church and Fred’s Records. Tickets are $20 and will also be available at the door.