Excitement grows with Illuminate 2021 now under two weeks away

Date published: 02 November 2021
Mayflower illustration: "Arrival at Cape Cod"

Residents and visitors to Gainsborough are invited to West Lindsey District Council’s exciting Illuminate event in just under two weeks’ time, with planning now well under way behind-the-scenes.

Illuminate 2021 is the final spectacular event to commemorate Gainsborough’s links to the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims story – and will include a fire garden, projections, performers, live music and an arts trail around the town.

The free event takes place on Saturday 13th November from 6pm to 8.30pm in the grounds of Gainsborough Old Hall and All Saints’ Parish Church.

Gainsborough Choral Society will also be performing David Fawcett’s new choral work “A Sure Refuge” at a concert in the Parish Church from 7.30-8.30pm. Free tickets for the concert can be pre-booked online via Eventbrite or picked up from Gainsborough Library or Bassetlaw Museum in Retford.

The Mayflower story tells of the Separatists’ journey to America in 1620. Many leading Separatists, who later became known as the Pilgrims, came from the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire region. More information on the Mayflower story can be found on the Discover Gainsborough website.

Member Champion for Heritage and Leisure, Cllr Paul Howitt-Cowan, said: “We are two weeks away now from this final event to mark the 400th anniversary of this incredible story. This will be the first time in two years that we have been able to put on an event like this – and I am really starting to look forward to how special the sights are set to look – with projections beaming onto the walls of the Old Hall, fire sculptures, a fire garden and performers dancing and entertaining visitors.

“We are fortunate also that this event will take place on the same day as the November Farmer’s Market in Gainsborough – so why not make a day of it? Explore the Local Market, grab some food, and then head over to see what promises to be a spectacular event!”

As we draw nearer to the date, residents are reminded that they can join in by bringing along their own candle lantern and following a self-led “Pilgrims Survival” arts trail around the town’s historic quarter throughout the evening.

This follows on from last year’s online event where residents displayed lanterns in their windows and shared photos on social media.

Currently, over 1,500 candle-making kits have been distributed to local schools so they can make their own candle lantern to bring along on the night.

Dr Anna Scott, Mayflower 400 Officer at West Lindsey District Council, said: “The theme for this year is “Thanksgiving,” following the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving in America – a day which is also recognised as the National Day of Mourning for Native Americans.

“Everyone is invited to make their own LED lit lanterns and candles at home using ideas from the online toolkit on the Discover Gainsborough website or by collecting a free kit from the Old Hall or Connexions Community Hub, and including a message to say what they are thankful for as we reflect on a shared heritage that connects to communities across the world. This will add to the spectacular sights and colour that we can all be a part of on the 13th. After two years, we’re looking forward to seeing as many people there as possible.”

Activities at the Old Hall and Parish Church will run throughout the evening from 6pm onwards, with the projected film telling the Pilgrims’ story running every 20 minutes with a final showing at 8.20pm. Only the concert needs a pre-booked ticket beforehand.

This year’s Illuminate is the culmination of work developed over the last five years, following the creation of new partnerships and funding awards. West Lindsey District Council’s cultural programme of events and activities has been made possible thanks to a £100,000 grant from Arts Council England and support from a wide range of partners including Gainsborough Town Council and Lincolnshire County Council.

For more details about what’s planned for the 13th November, follow West Lindsey District Council and Discover Gainsborough social media channels. Find out more about Mayflower 400 and Pilgrim Roots at Discover Gainsborough: Pilgrim Roots


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