Schools will help light the way in the Illuminate lantern parade

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Schoolchildren from across Gainsborough will lead the way with their own handmade lanterns as the town hosts its first Illuminate lantern parade.

Artists have been visiting schools to teach pupils how to create their own willow and paper structures, which they will bring along to the parade.

The Illuminate Parade will commemorate its Pilgrim Roots and the region’s 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

Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee at the council, Coun Sheila Bibb, said: “I’m looking forward to the parade and can’t wait to celebrate Gainsborough’s rich heritage and to see these lovely handmade lanterns on Wednesday, November 22.

“It has been wonderful to see so many people taking part in the free artist-led workshops at Trinity Arts Centre and the X-church. I would like to say a big thank you to local artists Julie Willoughby, Ruth Piggott, Kirsty Champ and Vincent Canning who have brought their inspiring talents to the design and making of this year’s lanterns.”

There are also two more opportunities to take part and create your own lanterns at free workshops at the United Reformed Church in Gladstone Street, from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, November 18 and 19.

The parade will make its way from Silver Street to Gainsborough Old Hall telling the story with artist-designed lanterns.

It will begin at 5pm led by Talegate Theatre, with participants registering to collect their lanterns at 4.30pm in Silver Street.

A special Pilgrim song has been commissioned for the parade, which will feature live music and singing from Sturton by Stow Primary School choir.

Alongside bespoke Pilgrims’ heritage themed lanterns, there will be performances by young people from the Performing Arts Club St Johns as part of the parade, which will finish in the grounds of Gainsborough Old Hall.

This year’s parade has been made possible by a grant from Arts Council England, which has also funded an Illuminate parade in Retford – to commemorate the shared Pilgrims’ story.

Following the parade an Illuminate Service will be held in the United Reformed Church in Gainsborough at 6pm.

Find out more about the Mayflower 400 project at www.mayflower400uk.org.