Date published: 23 November 2017
Schoolchildren from the town made a special journey from Gainsborough Old Hall around the town centre to mark the countdown of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower.
Illuminate is a special commemorative event that recognises the town’s important connections to the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims, some of whom came from the area before they set sail on the Mayflower in 1620.
Preparations have been in full swing over the past few weeks with professional artists sharing their lantern making skills with schools and workshops in the community. Sessions were held at the Trinity Arts Centre, xChurch and the United Reformed Church to create the giant lanterns made from willow and paper and lit with little led lights.
Children from Sturton By Stow, White’s Wood Academy, Parish Church School and Mercer’s Wood Academy led the parade, each carrying a giant flame lantern they made for the event.
Ellie Castelluccio (9) from Sturton By Stow made a giant lantern in the shape of a church. She said: “I have enjoyed making the lantern and I wanted to make a church. It is huge but it only took me two hours to make.”
Olivia from White Wood Academy was proud to be part of the event and she made a flame lantern. She said: “It is made out of willow and paper. It was fun to make and it looks like it was difficult to make but it wasn’t.”
Her classmate Jack also made a flame lantern. He said: “I am really proud of the lantern. We made the lanterns to commemorate the Pilgrims who set sail on the Mayflower.”
Chairman of the Council, Cllr Angela Lawrence said: “Significant progress has been made this year towards our plans and ambitions for commemorating 2020 and the unique opportunities it offers.
“We’re excited to be part of a successful phase 1 Heritage Lottery Fund bid that will establish Gainsborough’s role in a regional Pilgrim Roots trail and create resources to ensure that our children understand the significance of our local story on the world stage.”
The event would not have been possible without the combination of funding and support from Arts Council England, West Lindsey, Gainsborough Town Council, Bassetlaw District Council, Lincolnshire County Council, Gainsborough Old Hall, Transported in Boston, Bassetlaw Christian Heritage and the wonderful professional artists, schools and community groups.
Deputy Mayor of Gainsborough Town Council Cllr Richard Craig helped lead the parade. He said: “The sheer amount of people that came to support is amazing. It really is an event that has involved the whole community.”
Talegate Theatre, gave a special performance to all the school children prior to the parade at the Old Hall. As the parade met in the historic Market Place a special Pilgrim song was performed by the Sturton By Stow Primary School choir.
Local artist Julie Willoughby supported the event. She said: “The Gainsborough community are fantastic – they really put their heart into it and you can always rely on them to put on a good show.”
Dr Anna Scott, project coordinator and historian praised all the children for their efforts and everyone involved in the event.
She said: “It has been a great way to get people talking about or history whilst doing something creative at the same time. We have really valued the support of the professional artists who helped us deliver a unique theme for Gainsborough. The flame lanterns were in the spirit of William Bradford of how ‘one small candle may light a thousand’.”
Victoria Mason Hines, visitor experience manager at the Gainsborough Old Hall was delighted to be part of the historic event.
She said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to be involved with West Lindsey District Council to commemorate the Mayflower Pilgrim story in the place it all began. We will continue to work together with the Pilgrim Roots Group for the 2020 preparations.”
Following the parade an Illuminate Service was held in the United Reformed Church in Gainsborough.
Find out more about Gainsborough’s Pilgrim heritage and West Lindsey’s partnership in the official Mayflower 400 project at www.mayflower400uk.org.
For the latest news on West Lindsey District Council visit: www.west-lindsey.gov.uk
Or follow us @WestLindseyDC or find us https://www.facebook.com/westlindseydistrictcouncil