Five lantern-lighting services and a string of events across Retford have started the countdown to the 400th anniversary of the journey of the Mayflower Pilgrims to America.
Illuminate 400 Retford 2015 saw church services around Retford, an exhibition and civic reception at Retford Town Hall, a civic service and an special Illuminate 400 photograph at St Swithun’s Church – all in one day.
During the evening more than 150 people packed into St Swithun’s, on Chapelgate, Retford town centre, for a commemorative service which included an address by The Right Reverend Paul Williams, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, on his first official visit to the town.
A spokesman said: “During the service, the Retford Post-16 Centre drama group gave three performances, depicting elements of the Pilgrims’ Story.
“Following the service, members of the congregation formed a ‘400’ on the churchyard which was photographed from the church roof.”
The Pilgrims were known as a group of religious separatists; many from Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, who sailed aboard the Mayflower ship to America to start a new life in 1620.
Other events have seen Joan Beck, a Pilgrim descendant, attend a lantern-lighting service at St Helena’s Church, Austerfield, before walking to Bawtry Mayflower Primary School and onto Scrooby, where she was welcomed by the Reverend Kate Bottley, vicar of Scrooby and star of TV’s Gogglebox, for another lantern-lighting service.
Lantern-lighting services also took place at Gainsborough’s United Reformed Church, Sturton-le-Steeple and Babworth.
The day’s activities were organised by Bassetlaw Christian Heritage, which is working to provide a recognised tourist environment in the region, focusing on people and their stories based on faith heritage, such as the Mayflower Pilgrims.