Gainsborough Illuminate parade to kick-start Mayflower commemorations

Renowned Pilgrim historian Dr Jeremy Bangs (right), Director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, on a recent visit to see the new trail.
Renowned Pilgrim historian Dr Jeremy Bangs (right), Director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, on a recent visit to see the new trail.

A dazzling display of lights parading through Gainsborough will launch the commemorative year of the sailing of the Mayflower.

The Illuminate parade on Saturday November 16 will start at the United Reformed Church, following a route through the town with a spectacular light projection onto Gainsborough Old Hall.

Although the historic voyage took place at Plymouth, many leading Separatists, who later became known as the Pilgrims came from this region including Gainsborough. A group of Separatists are thought to have worshiped in secret at the Old Hall.

Councillor Owen Bierley, chairman of the prosperous communities committee on West Lindsey District Council, said: “We’re delighted to be holding our Illuminate parade again this year that will launch the commemorative year locally and internationally.”

New trail boards have been unveiled at the Old Hall and the United Reformed Church as part of the National Lottery Heritage-funded Pilgrim Roots project, led by Bassetlaw District Council with West Lindsey District Council.

The new trail will allow visitors to explore the heritage sites with special connections to the Mayflower Pilgrims’ story across Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire.

A 40-mile circular self-driven route, it highlights the key places where some of the Pilgrims lived, worked and prayed before they began their new lives in Holland and America.

This year’s Illuminate event has been made possible with thanks to a £100,000 grant from Arts Council England. The grant will be used to support the parade as the opening event for Gainsborough’s 2020 Mayflower 400 cultural programme.

Coun Bierley added: “We are very grateful to Arts Council England who have awarded the grant as it will allow us to put on spectacular events across the town bringing our communities together.”

A series of free lantern making workshops will take place next month to allow members of the public to create their very own lanterns.

The workshops will be held at Gainsborough Old Hall on Friday October 25, from 10am to 4pm; and at The United Reformed Church on Saturday October 26 and Saturday November 9, from 10am to 4pm on both days.