More than 250 people turned up to join in the celebrations for the Gainsborough’s second Illuminate lantern parade.
Children and community groups from across Gainsborough led the way with their own lanterns, as they paraded them through the town.
The parade commemorates the region’s Pilgrim Roots. Nearly 400 years ago, the Mayflower sailed to America carrying passengers from Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire – inspired by leading thinkers from Gainsborough.
Prior to the event, artists worked closely with a range of community group leaders, schools and members of the public, to help them create the willow and paper structures.
The event started with a service at the United Reformed Church, which is also known as the John Robinson Memorial Church. It was built to commemorate Pastor John Robinson, who became the leader of the Pilgrims in Holland, before some of them made their historic voyage across the Atlantic.
Audiences were treated to a dance performances from the ‘Imagination Museum: Mayflower 400’ dancers. All guests then walked with their lanterns to the Gainsborough Old Hall, where there was a special digitally projected film, which had been commissioned for the parade.
It was developed from stained glass panels designed by pupils from Parish Church Primary School and projected on to the outside of the Gainsborough Old Hall for everyone to see.
Alongside bespoke pilgrims’ heritage themed lanterns, there was a special performance by young people from the Performing Arts Club St Johns as part of the parade, who sang.
Chairman of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Pat Mewis was joined by many special guests for the event, including the Mayor of Gainsborough Town Council.
She said: “I would like to thank everyone for taking part in our illuminate event as we continue our countdown to 2010 and the 400th anniversary of the historic voyage of the Mayflower, and our region’s important links to that story.
“I would like to extend special thanks to Rev Dr Gillian Poucher and the United Reformed Church for hosting us, to Katie’s dancers and everyone who has contributed to make this event so special.”
Cllr Pat Mewis also announced West Lindsey District Council’s intention to make a grant contribution to the national Imagination Museum: Mayflower 400 project, an Arts Council England-funded project led by dance company ‘Made by Katie Green’.
Katie Green’s dancers showcased the new dance and heritage project which will take place in this region during 2019 before moving to the south coast for 2020.
This year’s event was made possible by a grant from Arts Council England. The formation of a regional Pilgrim Roots partnership as part of the national Mayflower 400 project has helped support the development of Illuminate, including support from Transported who manage Boston’s Illuminate event.
Gainsborough Town Council, Lincolnshire County Council, Bassetlaw Christian Heritage and Marshall’s Yard have also given their support, to make this year’s Illuminate events possible.
Dr Anna Scott, project coordinator and historian, praised all the children for their efforts and everyone involved in the event. She said: “This year’s event has built on the success of last year and allowed us to try out new things – like creating a new film to project onto the historic Old Hall and collaborating with the Imagination Museum dance project.
Next year’s Illuminate will be the opening event for 2020’s 400th anniversary year of the Mayflower’s voyage. It will be a chance to reflect on leading Pilgrim William Bradford’s quote that ‘one small candle may light a thousand’ – and how Gainsborough’s history is part of this iconic story.