£55,000 pledge towards Pilgrim heritage trail

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Nottinghamshire County Council has pledged £55,000 for projects to celebrate the area’s Mayflower Pilgrim connections in 2020.

The council is involved in shaping local and national plans for the 400th anniversary of the pilgrims’ voyage to what would become the United States.

The policy committee has pledged £25,000 towards a Heritage Lottery Fund bid to create a £450,000 heritage trail and a new gallery at Bassetlaw Museum.

Council leader Kay Cutts said: “It’s staggering to think that this amazing chain of events started here in Nottinghamshire and is something we are extremely proud of.

“The anniversary offers the potential for massive economic, tourism, educational and cultural benefits for Nottinghamshire, which we are determined to maximise.”

The trail would link key historical sites from Retford to Gainsborough, via Sturton-le-Steeple, Scrooby, Babworth, Austerfield, together with information displays and infrastructure such as wi-fi.

The council has also committed £30,000 for activities to mark Nottinghamshire’s wider association with the story of religious separatists and their leader William Brewster, from Scrooby.

Coun Cutts said: “We’ve been working closely with our partners in Nottinghamshire and in other parts of the country with pilgrim links to develop some exciting plans.

Bassetlaw district councillor Jo White said: “This funding is very welcome and we thank the county council for their support.

“It’s vital to get things in place before 2020 and have suitable assets that will be ready to welcome American visitors, as well as visitors from the UK, and offer an engaging and enjoyable visitor experience.”

She added: “A recent study predicted Bassetlaw is likely to benefit to the tune of approximately £2million just in the year 2020 - but we hope to have a lasting legacy beyond that.”

In total, 102 men, women and children took the 66-day, perilous journey from England to Massachusetts in September 1620.

It is estimated that today, 35million people claim an ancestral lineage that runs back through 15 generations to the ‘founding fathers’ on board the Mayflower.

To find out more, visit www.mayflower400uk.org.