Conservatives Welcome 2018 Illuminate Parade to Gainsborough

Local Conservatives are looking forward to local children and community groups leading the way with their own handmade lanterns as Gainsborough hosts its second Illuminate lantern parade.

Artists have been working with a range of community group leaders, schools and members of the public, to teach participants how to create their own willow and paper structures, which they will bring along to the parade next week.

The Illuminate event which takes place on Wednesday, 21st November, will commemorate the region’s Pilgrim Roots and the important role in world history. Nearly 400 years ago, the Mayflower sailed to America carrying passengers from Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire – inspired by leading thinkers from Gainsborough.

Cllr Sheila Bibb, Conservative Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee at West Lindsey District Council said:

“This year’s parade will build on the success of last year’s event. I’m looking forward to seeing children share their art work as part of the parade as well as through an exciting added element this year, with digitally projected film on Gainsborough Old Hall – created from art work designed by school children.

“It has been wonderful to see so many people taking part in the free artist-led sessions at Trinity Arts Centre, X-church and the United Reformed Church. I would like to say a big thank you to local artists Julie Willoughby, Kirsty Champ and Jess Kemp who have all contributed to this year’s vision for Illuminate.”

Some of the children who have taken part in the workshops have loved rolling up their sleeves and getting creative.

The event will begin with an all-age service with performance at the United Reformed Church. Participants can register from 5.30pm at the URC, for a 6pm start.

The United Reformed Churchis also known as the John Robinson Memorial Church – 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.

Rev. Dr. Gillian Poucher will lead the service which will feature performances from the exciting ‘Imagination Museum: Mayflower 400’ dancers, a new Arts Council England funded project due to start here next year before moving on to Hampshire and Plymouth in 2020.

Following the service, participants will gather from 6.30pm in the grounds of the Parish Church, ready to parade to the Old Hall and Market Place before finishing in Marshall’s Yard.

A special digitally projected film has been commissioned for the parade, developed from stained glass panels designed by pupils from Parish Church Primary School.

Alongside bespoke pilgrims’ heritage themed lanterns, there will be a performance by young people from the Performing Arts Club St Johns as part of the parade.

This year’s event has been 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 valuable support, to make this year’s Illuminate events possible.

Illuminate takes place in the same week as Thanksgiving, a traditional American holiday commemorating the Pilgrims’ first harvest – made possible only with the support of the Native Americans.

Places with a link to the Pilgrims’ story in England will be holding similar events next week, inspired by Pilgrim William Bradford’s quote: ‘one small candle may light a thousand’. Bawtry’s Illuminate is on Sunday 18th November, Retford’s Pilgrims Festival parade and performance is on Tuesday 20th November, and Scrooby’s Illuminate is taking place on Thursday 22nd November.

Find out more about Gainsborough’s Pilgrim heritage and West Lindsey’s partnership in the official Mayflower 400 project at