Record turnout for the Illuminate Parade in Gainsborough to mark the Mayflower 400

Illuminate Parade
Illuminate Parade

Gainsborough was a sight to behold as record numbers lit up the streets with their colourfully decorated handmade lanterns.

More than 300 people joined the Illuminate Parade, the first of six parades taking place across the country.

Starting at the United Reformed Church, community groups, young people and families paraded through the town with an impressive array of lanterns, before watching a spectacular light projection show onto the walls of Gainsborough Old Hall. 

Beth Evans from 2nd Gainsborough Guides joined the parade.

She said: “We made our lanterns with artist Julie Willoughby and this is our second years of doing this. It’s been a lovely event and there has been some stunning lanterns. We are already starting to plan for next year.”

Pam Craig brought both her two children, to the event, Eloise, aged three, and Reece, aged eight, who created his candle lantern at Connexions in the town.

She said: “It’s been absolutely amazing and it’s lovely to see a lot of people.”

Reece said: “I have had lots of fun on the lantern parade.”

This year’s parade was particularly special as it marked the start of the commemorative 400th year since the Mayflower first set sail, an important historical moment for communities in the UK, US and the Netherlands.

And thanks to a £100,000 grant from Arts Council England, the parade this year was biggest and best yet.

Anna Scott, Mayflower 400 officer at West Lindsey District Council, said: “We’re really pleased to have worked with schools and community groups in and around Gainsborough to prepare for the parade.

“This year we’ve made candle lanterns with professional artists, featuring the names of the 102 Mayflower passengers.”

An exciting programme of events has been planned for the next 12 months, which was launched during the parade. It will offer an engaging, educational and insightful range of activities throughout 2020 for local residents and visitors alike.

Vice Chairman of West Lindsey District Council Angela Lawrence said: “It was very well attended and I loved the lady on stilts lighting the way for us all, a wonderful idea.”