Council celebrates Lottery grant for Pilgrims project

West Lindsey District Council's Mayflower 400 officer, Dr Anna Scott (front right) and councillors Sheila Bibb (centre) and Gillian Bardsley (back right), celebrating the Lottery grant with Victoria Brooks, manager of Gainsborough Old Hall, and Rick Brand, chair of Bassetlaw Christian Heritage.
West Lindsey District Council's Mayflower 400 officer, Dr Anna Scott (front right) and councillors Sheila Bibb (centre) and Gillian Bardsley (back right), celebrating the Lottery grant with Victoria Brooks, manager of Gainsborough Old Hall, and Rick Brand, chair of Bassetlaw Christian Heritage.

West Lindsey District Council has added its delighted voice to the chorus of approval that has met the award of a grant to commemorate the Pilgrims’ story.

More than £775,000 worth of Heritage Lottery Fund cash is to be pumped into the Pilgrim Roots project to mark the 400th anniversary in 2020 of the ‘Mayflower’ reaching America.

And of that, £450,000 has gone to the district council to fund the appointment of a heritage engagement officer and a heritage support officer, and to boost tourism numbers in the Gainsborough area.

Coun Sheila Bibb said: “We want to encourage people to visit our historic town and be able to find out how our history connects us to America.”

The engagement officer will visits schools and groups, equipped with dressing-up costumes, learning boxes and lesson programmes. The support officer will work with tour operators and independent visitors to organise tour guides and arrange transport, hotel and restaurant bookings for tourists.

Ambitious plans also include a new Pilgrims Trail that marks out key heritage sites, including the Old Hall at Gainsborough, information boards scattered across the region, a website packed with information and news, and a state-of-the-art, fun and educational Pilgrims Gallery at Bassetlaw Museum in Retford.

District councillors and officers were full of praise for National Lottery players for helping to make the project come to fruition.

A year-long calendar of events has been planned to mark the Mayflower 400 commemorations, starting in November 2019.