Nova Scotia

Tattoo held for grandmother who hasn't missed show since 1979

While COVID-19 cancelled the annual Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo this year, the family of a woman who attended the show for 40 years managed to get a special one held in her honour.

Family surprises Joyce Meikle with 41st tattoo show

The Royal Nanny International Tattoo was held at the Stadacona Base at CFB Halifax for grandmother Joyce Meikle on Saturday. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

While COVID-19 cancelled the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo this year, the family of a woman who has been to the show each year since 1979 was able to keep the tattoo tradition intact.

On Saturday, the Royal Nanny International Tattoo was held for Joyce Meikle at the Stadacona Base at CFB Halifax.

For Meikle, the tattoo is a family tradition.

"I just can't believe it," Meikle said after the surprise show. "I thought we were celebrating my granddaughter's graduation."

Organizers say Meikle's family reached out about putting together a tattoo for her. The surprise show was live streamed.

"Originally the idea was just to help make nanny smile because she's been having a really hard time with COVID not being able to see her family," said Allison Meikle, Joyce's granddaughter.

"We figured that we just try to get one bagpiper involved and then exploded and now it's this — which is super exciting."

Ahead of the show, Allison said her nanny was told she'd be going to a family barbecue.

She said the tattoo tradition has been in the family for a long time and that her grandmother was sad when she learned the 2020 event would be cancelled.

Allison said her grandmother is her best friend who deserved to have a nice surprise.

"Now that we're getting this together, it's just something that the entire family can look back on some day and see as the best memory that we'll have," Allison said.

Joyce Meikle was treated to a performance by Tattoo performing groups like the Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy, 12 Wing Shearwater Pipes & Drums and the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Highland Dance Team. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

Meikle was treated to a performance by the Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy, 12 Wing Shearwater Pipes & Drums and the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Highland Dance Team.

Chairs and performers were spaced far apart to adhere to public health guidelines.

This year's Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo was due to take place June 27-July 4. It was cancelled in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joyce Meikle, her family and tattoo performers pose for a group photo together after the show. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

Leyna Faulkner, sales and marketing manager for the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, said the organization was happy to make Joyce's day.

"It was fast and furious. The Canadian Armed Forces were a great help as well as the We Are Young Association in bringing together all these performers and making a smaller scale show than we're used to. But the spirit is the same," Faulkner said.

The show was about honouring family tradition, Faulkner said. She said live streaming the show was a "a way to stay in touch with our loyal audiences all over the world."

Faulkner said the tattoo is working on virtual projects this summer instead of physical shows. She said plans are already underway for the 2021 tattoo.

About the Author

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.

With files from Jeorge Sadi

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