Gainsborough gears up for online Illuminate event this Thursday

Illuminate 2020

Residents of Gainsborough are being encouraged to take part in an online event that will commemorate the town’s links to the Mayflower story in its 400th anniversary year.

One Small Candle is an online event that was created after the town’s annual Illuminate Parade was postponed due to current COVID-19 restrictions. Taking place on Thursday 26 November (the date of Thanksgiving), residents are invited to make their own lanterns at home to display in their windows, to give thanks in their own special way for the things that are important to them.

Handy templates are available to download from and can be created using household items such as glass jars or plastic bottles.

Organisers are also asking anyone taking part to take a picture of their lanterns and upload it to social media on 26 November using #OneSmallCandle or tagging Discover Gainsborough on FacebookTwitter or Instagram to be part of the online event. Alternatively, you can email your images to [email protected] and they will be uploaded for you.

Cllr Judy Rainsforth, ward member for Gainsborough South West added:

“I am pleased that our Mayflower commemorations are able to continue despite the challenges of COVID-19. I hope that the residents of Gainsborough will get involved in this creative activity at home and look forward seeing our town light up on 26 November”.

Also launching on Thursday is a new illustrated children’s book 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.

The book will be available to all schools across West Lindsey and stockist opportunities are also be available. To register your interest please email [email protected].

This project was made possible with thanks to funding from Arts Council England. For more information visit

The second edition of Radical Routes, an online newspaper, will also be released which takes a close look at the Mayflower story, its myths and legends, and aspects that may have been over-looked or need reinterpretation to include previously hidden history.

In this edition, West Lindsey District Council’s Dr Anna Scott focusses on the forgotten women who also boarded the Mayflower. Research often tells us their names, and who they were related to or worked for. But it’s much harder to know what they were thinking or feeling as very few women at that time had the chance to write these things down.

“We know that some of the Separatists came from Gainsborough, and a group of the women involved departed from there with their children to escape England. The journeys they made were recorded through men’s eyes, but that female presence was central to the story of those families escaping for new lives abroad” said Dr Scott.

To read the autumn edition of Radical Routes visit The spring edition is also available to view which focusses the theme ‘Journeys’ and how the Pilgrims’ story still resonates today.

Radical Routes is produced by Writing East Midlands on behalf of West Lindsey District Council, the University of Lincoln’s Transported programme, which brings arts to people in Boston Borough and South Holland, and Bassetlaw’s ‘The Few to the Many’ project, as an arts-led response to the region’s role in the Pilgrims’ heritage story.

To find out more about Gainsborough’s connections to the Mayflower story visit– Opens in a new window. For regular updates follow @Discovergains on Twitter or Instagram, or find Discover Gainsborough on Facebook.

Thursday 26 November marks the annual US tradition of Thanksgiving, commemorating the Pilgrims’ first year and survival in America, but it is also recognised as the National Day of Mourning for Native Americans who lived in America for centuries before the first Europeans arrived. 2020 marks 50 years since the Wampanoag indigenous people refused to accept the one-dimensional telling of the Thanksgiving story and were no longer willing to be silenced.

In 1970, Frank James, then leader of the Wampanoag, would no longer be condemned to silence about the treatment of his people since the landing of the Mayflower. He was asked to give a speech to mark the 350th anniversary of the sailing. When he refused to read the organisers’ revised text of his own words, he was ‘uninvited’ from the programme.

Instead, James marched to Cole’s Hill, where supporters heard him give his original speech next to the statue of former Wampanoag leader Ousamequin. Half a century on, Native Americans still gather on Cole’s Hill on Thanksgiving Day – not to mark the Mayflower’s arrival but to commemorate a National Day of Mourning.

National Day of Mourning 2020 is part of the Mayflower 400 Re-Informed series. For more information visit