Mayflower Pilgrim events receive £100,000 Arts Council funding

Illuminate Gainsborough

Arts Council England has granted West Lindsey District Council £100,000 to fund a series of events in Gainsborough commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower’s historic voyage.

The National Lottery funding will provide a host of arts and creative opportunities in Gainsborough as part of the ‘Mayflower 400’ project of events. 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth UK to Plymouth Massachusetts.

This historical voyage is a key historical event for communities across the UK, the US and the Netherlands.

Gainsborough has a special connection to the Mayflower anniversary as separatist movements originated in this region that led them on their journey to America.

Anna Scott, Mayflower 400 Officer at West Lindsey District Council, said: “I’m overjoyed to be receiving this money from the Arts Council. This money will help us provide high quality, engaging events for people in Gainsborough, to truly bring alive the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims and help locals and visitors alike understand what that story means for them.”

The upcoming Illuminate event, taking place on 16 November, will open the anniversary year of the Mayflower Voyage in Gainsborough. Thanks to the funding, 2019’s event will be the biggest yet.

Gainsborough Old Hall
Separatists were thought to have worshipped in secret at Gainsborough Old Hall.

Following this will be an 18-month programme of activities, including some further key events throughout 2020, which will fascinate local people and international visitors alike. The theme of the activities will be ‘challenging the myth’ – exploring the hidden voices of the Mayflower Pilgrims story and creating lasting memories through revealing this history in creative ways.

Cllr Paul Howitt-Cowan, from the Leisure, Culture Events & Tourism Group, said: “This is brilliant news for Gainsborough and a great opportunity for everyone in the community to get involved and learn more about how the town has links to key historical moments. This funding has made a huge range of events possible for a number of different groups to get involved.”

Peter Knott, Area Director for Arts Council England, said: “We are pleased to support the Pilgrim Roots project through our National Lottery Project Grants as Gainsborough prepares to mark its special connection to the Mayflower’s historic voyage.

Illuminate Gainsborough 2018
Illuminate Parade in Gainsborough, 2018

“These events will be a great opportunity for locals and visitors to explore the town’s fascinating heritage, learn about the Pilgrims’ story, legacy and roots, and take part in some great creative activities.”

Chief Executive of the Mayflower 400 Compact Partnership, Charles Hackett, said: “I’m delighted that Gainsborough’s Mayflower programme has Arts Council support. Gainsborough is key in this history and commemoration, and their 2020 events are an important part of the national and international Mayflower 400 cultural programme.”

Gainsborough’s Mayflower Cultural Programme is supported by Gainsborough Town Council and a range of other local partners.

To learn more about the upcoming Pilgrim Roots events in Gainsborough, and read more about the history of the Mayflower Pilgrims, click on the links below.