Building on Gainsborough’s heritage: Illuminate 2020 moves online and new Pilgrim legacies

One Small Candle Lanterns

This Saturday would have been Gainsborough’s annual Illuminate parade, where people come together and parade the streets with a magnificent display of colourful lanterns, commemorating the town’s links to the Mayflower story. Like so many other things that have changed recently, this year’s parade has been postponed and new plans made for an ‘Illuminate’ online.

Working in partnership with Pilgrim Roots partners in Boston and North Nottinghamshire, West Lindsey District Council are encouraging the public to make their own lanterns at home to display in their windows on Thursday 26 November (the date of Thanksgiving), to give thanks in their own special way for the things that are important to them.

To find out more and to download the easy to use templates and instructions visit or follow Discover Gainsborough on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Don’t forget to include #OneSmallCandle in your post to be part of the wider campaign!

The Council have also been working on a series of exciting projects that will leave a lasting legacy for residents and visitors of Gainsborough including Rachel Carter’s Pilgrim Woman statue that was installed on Gainsborough’s Riverside just last week, bringing attention to the often unheard stories of the women on this journey.

The Pilgrim Woman stands by the water’s edge, contemplative of the journey she’s about to make and the home she is leaving. She holds in her hand an apple, a symbol of growth and new beginnings.

The location of the statue also relates to the Separatists’ escape from the town via the River Trent, making their way to Immingham before boarding a ship to Amsterdam in 1608.

Rachel said:

“My Spirit of Mayflower project, now in its fourth year, has given me a rich experience and understanding of the Separatist families who fled the area fleeing religious persecution. I’ve had the privilege to work with communities in the Pilgrim Roots district, travel the Atlantic by freight ship, study indigenous art at Harvard University and undertake a series of artist residencies in the UK and USA. I am so proud to see her standing by the waters edge and to represent women’s voices in our shared history.”

Cllr Steve England, Chairman of West Lindsey District Council also added:

“The Pilgrim Woman is a wonderful addition to Gainsborough. It strengthens our links to the Mayflower story and I hope that she will become a well-loved figure for the community of Gainsborough.

“We hope that when it is safe for us to do so, people will come and visit the statue, learn about our connections to the story and discover what Gainsborough as a town has to offer.”

You can find out more about the Pilgrim Woman by visiting

The Pilgrim Woman was commissioned by West Lindsey District Council with funding from the Gainsborough Development Fund.

In addition, a new illustrated children’s book will be launched this month exploring the lesser-known parts of the Mayflower story from before the ship set sail. Written by West Lindsey District Council’s Mayflower 400 Officer, Dr Anna Scott, and illustrated by Neil Baker of Electric Egg, ‘Journeys Over Land and Sea’ describes the famous voyage from the perspective of Mary Brewster, wife of William Brewster who was one of the leading Pilgrims.

Mary Brewster and her family are famous for being amongst the Pilgrims who sailed from England to America in 1620 on the Mayflower. For Mary, that historic voyage was just one in a dramatic series of journeys over land and sea in search of a better life.

“Mary’s story is a fascinating one, and we wanted to tell it from her perspective. Neil Baker’s illustrations really bring that to life and will help bring the story to a new younger audience,” said Anna Scott.

The book will be launched on Thursday 26 November and will be made available to all schools across West Lindsey. Copies will also be available to purchase and stockist opportunities will also be available. To register your interest please email [email protected].

‘Journeys Over Land and Sea’ was made possible with thanks to funding from Arts Council England.

For more information visit

To find out more about Gainsborough’s connections to the Mayflower story visit For regular updates follow @Discovergains on Twitter or Instagram; or find Discover Gainsborough on Facebook.