Successful Retford Thanksgiving Illuminate 2021

Can-dles of Hope

St Swithun’s Church, Retford, 18th November 2021

We set a target of gathering 4800 cans for Bassetlaw Foodbank on Thursday 18th November 2021 – that is one can for every month since the first Thanksgiving in America, 400 years ago. From a standing start this year we achieved over 1600 cans – over a third of the target! This was due to the magnificent support from organisations and individuals in and around Retford – and a special mention to the Co-op store in Kilton – thank you all!

If you want us to come back next year to see if we can do it then, we will – the target will be 4812 then – just send an email to info@pilgrimroots.org and let us know. Bassetlaw Foodbank does a great job and deserves our support. Foodbank Manager, Robert Garland said “This sort of event, and the amazing way the people of Bassetlaw pull together to make things happen, makes me really proud to be a resident, and as a charity, we could not operate without this sort of support.”

There was a programme of performances and talks on the day and the local talent – all of whom gave their time and genius for free – were absolutely brilliant. The event started with John Coates and the St Swithun’s bellringers who announced the start of the event. Then local organist Stephen Carey played five organ pieces specially composed for the Mayflower Pilgrims commemorations, with an introduction and supporting narratives by Isabelle Richards, Heritage Engagement Officer, at the Pilgrims Gallery, Bassetlaw Museum. This worked so well bringing alive the stories of the people in the music.

Then, The Elizabethan Academy Choir, assisted by various soloists, and conducted by Claire Cowan performed with great enthusiasm and skill. Doncaster Waites then astounded the audience with both their superb outfits and their virtuoso playing of the popular street music and instruments at the time of the Pilgrims. The well-known U3A Recorder Consort delighted everyone with their music before the Doncaster Waites returned for a final set.

Then the pace changed and the audience was treated to a series of films about the plight of the Native Americans and what Thanksgiving represents to them – the National Day of Mourning; plus tours on screen around the local Pilgrim Churches with descriptions of the people who became the Separatists and Puritans in the 17th Century. There was then an interval and a chance to eat the amazing cupcakes purchased from an excellent cake shop not far from the church.

At 6.30pm the evening session began with the ever-popular local historian and author, Adrian Gray who gave a fascinating talk on Thanksgiving and Other Meals. This was followed by outstanding performances from local singers, Emma Spencer & David Warren, who sang songs from musical theatre. It was a privilege to hear, and see, them and if you ever get the chance to hear them, take it, they are amazing! The evening was completed by Retford’s own Jessica Mary Brett who gave a brilliant climax to the day with songs about thanksgiving and friendship.

BCH Chair, Rick Brand, closed the event and thanked everyone who had contributed to the day, especially the team at St Swithun’s and Isabelle Richards, Pilgrim Roots, Bassetlaw District Council, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, without whom the day would not have taken place.

Donors of cans were given an LED tealight, which they can display in their windows on Thursday 25th November (Thanksgiving Day) to remind them, and others, about giving thanks. We are inviting people to take photographs of these tealights to reflect the theme of Illuminate and share them on social media with the hashtag #OneSmallCandle, or send by email to info@pilgrimroots.org.

The Illuminate activity is inspired by a quote from William Bradford, one of the Mayflower Pilgrim leaders who became the second and long-serving Governor of Plymouth Colony:

‘As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many.’

– Wm. Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation

Chair of BCH, Rick Brand said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to make a real difference to people locally by supporting Bassetlaw Foodbank, and to be able to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving.”

Thanksgiving Illuminate Can-dles of Hope

St Swithun’s Church, Retford – 12noon to 9.00pm, 18th November 2021

Help us to gather 4800 (or more!) cans for Bassetlaw Foodbank on Thursday 18th November 2021 – that is one can for every month since the first Thanksgiving in America, 400 years ago. We have over 400 cans already and are looking forward to receiving many more on the day.

From 12noon on Thursday 18th November at St Swithun’s Church, Retford, there will be a programme of performances and talks where everyone is invited to call in with their donations of cans for Bassetlaw Foodbank.

Programme

Here is the programme:

12 noon – 12.15pm John Coates and the bellringers will ring the church bells

12.30pm – 1.30pm Stephen Carey will play five organ pieces specially composed for the Mayflower Pilgrims commemorations, with an introduction and supporting narratives by Isabelle Richards, Heritage Engagement Officer, Pilgrims Gallery, Bassetlaw Museum.

1.30pm – 2.30pm The Elizabethan Academy Choir

2.30pm – 3.00pm Doncaster Waites (popular music at the time of the Pilgrims)

3.00pm – 3.45pm U3A Recorder Consort

4.00pm – 4.30pm Doncaster Waites (return)

4.30pm – 5.30pm Pilgrim Churches + Videos on screen – sit back and take a tour around local historic locations linked to the Separatists

5.30pm – 6.30pm Interval

6.30pm – 7.30pm Adrian Gray, historian & author – ‘Thanksgiving and other meals’ (talk)

7.30pm – 8.30pm Emma Spencer & David Warren (singers)

8.30pm – 9.00pm Jessica Mary Brett (singer)

9.00pm Thanks and Close

Donors are welcome to stay throughout or pop in for a few minutes – whatever works for them – refreshments will be available.

Let’s make this a great event for Bassetlaw Foodbank and the people it serves – no-one should go hungry in Bassetlaw!

Everyone who brings a donation for the Foodbank at St Swithun’s on 18th November will be given the opportunity to write a message of hope which will be given out by Bassetlaw Foodbank. To receive a positive message like this, especially in the run up to Christmas, can make a big difference.

This will be a fantastic way for people to give thanks for their own lives whilst helping others to survive in modern hardship – a brilliant way to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving Meal held in North America.

The first 400 donors will be given an LED tealight, which they can display in their windows on Thursday 25th November (Thanksgiving Day) to remind them, and others, about giving thanks. We will be inviting people to take photographs of these tealights to reflect the theme of Illuminate and share them on social media with the hashtag #OneSmallCandle, or send by email to info@pilgrimroots.org.

The Illuminate activity is inspired by a quote from William Bradford, one of the Mayflower Pilgrim leaders who became the second and long-serving Governor of Plymouth Colony:

‘As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many.’

– William Bradford, Of Plimmoth Plantation

Chair of BCH, Rick Brand said: ‘This is a wonderful opportunity for us to make a real difference to people locally by supporting Bassetlaw Foodbank, and to be able to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving.”

Background

November 25th 2021 will be the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving meal which was shared between the newly arrived settlers to North America – the Mayflower Pilgrims – and the local population who had formed an alliance with them – the Mashpee Wampanoag.

In the first year, half of the passengers from the Mayflower had died, having arrived at the start of winter, ill-prepared for what was to come. Members of the native population showed them which crops to grow, and how to go about it. A year on from their arrival a celebration meal took place with the settlers and the leader of the local Wampanoag people and one hundred of his warriors.

However the anniversary is not celebrated by the Wampanoag people today. The successful establishment of the Separatists was followed by large scale incursion by Europeans across the continent. Thanksgiving has been marked, since 1970, among many Native Americans as a National Day of Mourning.

Millions of Americans today mark Thanksgiving as a celebration of family and an opportunity to give thanks for what they have. People travel across the country to enjoy a meal together, usually featuring turkey. The original meal would probably have consisted of venison, shellfish and cereals.

The Thanksgiving/Illuminate activity in Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire has been organised by Bassetlaw District Council Pilgrims Gallery at Bassetlaw Museum, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and BCH (Bassetlaw Christian Heritage).

Pilgrim Roots is a regional partnership including Bassetlaw District Council, West Lindsey District Council, Bassetlaw Christian Heritage and other organisations in the Lincolnshire, Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire area.

Full Programme for Retford’s ‘Candles of Hope’

What’s on for this year’s Thanksgiving/Illuminate Candles of Hope

All the details about what’s happening in St Swithun’s Church, Retford from 12noon – 9pm, Thursday 18th November 2021:

  • 12 noon – 12.15pm John Coates and the bellringers will ring the church bells
  • 12.30pm – 1.30pm Stephen Carey will play five organ pieces specially composed for the Mayflower Pilgrims commemorations, with an introduction and supporting narratives by Isabelle Richards, Heritage Engagement Officer, Pilgrims Gallery:
    • Introduction
    • Plymouth Soundings by Carson Cooman
    • Four Mayflower Portraits by Clive Jenkins
    • Martial Music for Myles Standish
    • Lullaby for Peregrine White
    • Ballad for Priscilla Mullins
    • Toccata for John Howland
  • Additional organ pieces:
    • Gavotte by Padre Martini
    • Toccata in D Minor by Gaston Belier
  • 1.30pm – 2.30pm The Elizabethan Academy Choir
  • 2.30pm – 3pm Doncaster Waites (popular music at the time of the Pilgrims)
  • 3pm – 3.45pm U3A Recorder Consort
  • 4.00pm – 4.30pm Doncaster Waites (return)
  • 4.30pm – 5.30pm Pilgrim Churches + Videos on screen – sit back and take a tour around local historic locations linked to the Separatists
  • 5.30pm – 6.30pm Interval
  • 6.30pm – 7.30pm Adrian Gray – ‘Thanksgiving and other meals’ (talk)
  • 7.30pm – 8.30pm Emma Spencer & David Warren (singing)
  • 8.30pm – 9pm Jessica Mary Brett (singing)
  • 9pm Thanks and Close

Revd Mark Cantrill will MC the event and provide further pieces of interesting information throughout the day.

Donations of cans for the Bassetlaw Foodbank will be accepted throughout the event – please bring as many as you ‘can’ and help us raise 4800 cans – one for every month since the first Thanksgiving meal in America, four hundred years ago.

About the Performers

U3A Recorder Consort Retford

The recorder group has continued to grow and now has about 28 active members with around 20 attending most playing sessions. They are very grateful to their musical director, Janet Lewis, for providing them with a wide variety of music to enjoy. The group includes members with varying playing abilities from beginners to quite experienced players. Those new to the recorder have welcomed being given some one-to-one support by Janet to help develop their confidence. Between them they play most sizes of recorder (sopranino, descant, treble, tenor, bass and contrabass). Those who have been in the group from the beginning have noted how the overall standard of playing has improved so they can now play, reasonably well, pieces which they struggled with a few years ago.

The Doncaster Waites

A group of local musicians who have a passionate interest in music and history. Their interests have led them to perform early music on copies of original instruments and to wear clothes appropriate to the time of the music. Theirs is not the music of the courts and the aristocracy but the music of the common people. The waites were the original town band and played for civic events, feasts, weddings and in the streets. Doncaster had a band of waites from 1457 to 1832 and it is the spirit of these musicians that they try to re-create.

The Doncaster Waites are:-

  • Andrea Offord – bagpipes, recorders, pipe & tabor, rauschpfeife
  • Lynn Harvey – shawm, bagpipes, pipe & tabor, recorders
  • Norma Sharp – shawm, recorders, tabor pipe
  • Ray Harvey – sackbut, recorders
  • Roger Offord – shawm, hurdy-gurdy, curtal, recorders                 

The present group has been playing together now for over 12 years, but most of them have been playing together for a lot longer than that! The Doncaster Waites are members of The International Guild of Town Pipers.

Adrian Gray

Adrian Gray was born in Grantham and now lives at Laneham, Notts. He graduated in history from Cambridge and is the author of twenty-five history books including several in Nottinghamshire. His books cover a range of historical topics including folk tales, crime and railway history, as well as titles of regional interest. He also contributes regularly to a number of magazines. After a career in education, Adrian now combines his writing and historical interests with a role as a national and international education consultant. He is also historical advisor to Bassetlaw Christian Heritage and is a director of Pilgrims & Prophets Christian Heritage Tours, which helps people get to know the secrets and treasures of Bassetlaw.

Emma Spencer

Emma has been singing and dancing since she was a little girl. She has always had a passion for all things musical theatre. Emma graduated from The University Of Central Lancashire in 2019 with a BA Hons degree in music theatre. More recently, Emma has qualified as a primary school teacher, working at a local primary school. Emma wants to stay linked with the theatre industry and definitely doesn’t want to give up singing. She loves it too much. 

David Warren

David is originally from Southport, where he was heavily involved with the theatre from a very young age. David graduated from The University of Central Lancashire in 2019 with a BA Hons degree in music theatre. More recently, David has qualified as a music secondary school teacher, working at a local secondary school.

Jessica Mary Brett

Jessica is a lady who has been singing since she was just 12 years old and now sings professionally across the country. Jessica takes her role in community seriously and recently set up a brand new Community Interest Company with her Business partner Vicky Waring. Let’s for the Community has an objective is to generate projects to help the socially isolated, vulnerable, and multigenerational community. Creating groups and activities to breakdown inequalities within communities, keep the community active, provide music and song and focus on positive mental and physical well-being. 

JMBSINGER – 07867430104 https://m.facebook.com/JMBSINGER/
LET’S SING – https://m.facebook.com/letssingcommunity/

Can-dles of Hope – Retford’s Illuminate 2021

Thursday 18th November 2021

St Swithun’s Church, Retford | 12noon to 9pm

Help us to donate 4800 items to Bassetlaw Foodbank!

One item for every month since the first Thanksgiving meal, 400 years ago.

The first 400 donors will receive an LED tealight to display in their window on 25th November -Thanksgiving Day, they will also be invited to send a message of hope card which the Foodbank will distribute.

Donate some cans of food with a message of hope, and we will give you a candle… we call them – ‘Can~dles of Hope’.

Free programme of performances and talks hosted by Revd Mark Cantrill.

Everyone is welcome with donations. Refreshments will be available.

Performances from:
– St Swithun’s Bellringers
– Elizabethan Academy Choir
– U3A Recorder Consort
– Stephen Carey – organist
– Singers Emma Spencer and David Warren
– The Doncaster Waites
– Adrian Gray – talk on ‘Thanksgiving & other meals’

Times of performances will be published soon; please check back here for updates.

Stories from the History of Clarborough

7pm for 7.30pm, Tuesday 28th September 2021 at the Church of St John the Baptist Church Lane, Clarborough, DN22 9NQ

On Tuesday 28th September 2021, at 7.00pm for 7.30pm start, local historians Adrian Gray and Kath Sutton will give talks about some of the stories from the fascinating history of Clarborough.

The event will start at 7.30pm with Kath Sutton speaking about the history of Clarborough village since the Enclosure Act with some insights into the stories behind some of the very old tombs in the graveyard. Kath is the author of a paperback on the subject – Clarborough and Welham from 1778, published by Bookworm, Retford.

Following a refreshments interval, when cake and sparkling wine (or a non-alcoholic alternative) will be served, the well-known historian, Adrian Gray will shine a light on three people connected with the church history of Clarborough village – Brooks, Hodge and George Fletcher.

Photo of Adrian Gray
Historian and speaker Adrian Gray

Adrian not only runs tours and talks for Pilgrims and Prophets but has written number of books on a variety of subjects. People and Places of Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire contains information on many of the towns and villages including Clarborough and is also published by Bookworm, Retford.

There will be a suggested donation of £6 per person for entry, payable on the door, and there will also be a raffle.

The event is to raise funds for BCH, which works across the area, within a radius approximately 30 miles from Retford, focusing on the wide-ranging heritage of the people who have lived here and have gone on to influence the world. The Mayflower Pilgrims, with the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving this year, are one of the most famous of these groups.

BCH receives no regular funding from any organisation or individual and relies entirely on donations. For further information, please contact contact@bassetlawchristianheritage.com or talksandtours@gmail.com or see the website www.bassetlawchristianheritage.com.

Fresh air and heritage – it’s time for the Babworth snowdrops weekend!

February’s snowdrops at All Saints’ Church, Babworth

All Saints’ Parish Church, Babworth Road, Babworth, DN22 8HE

Saturday 8th (10am – 4pm) and Sunday 9th (12noon – 4pm) February 2020

Free admission – donations welcome

The 2020 Snowdrops Weekend at All Saints’ Parish Church in Babworth, the ‘Church in the Woodland’, is an annual pilgrimage made by many people, from a wide range of locations in and around Bassetlaw, and beyond! It is less than half an hour to walk from the centre of Retford to Babworth Church – and even closer from the railway station – a great opportunity to fulfil a New Year’s resolution. If you need to use a car, there is ample parking available at the church.

All Saints’ Church, Babworth

As well as taking a stroll around the churchyards, there are walks through the woods, providing a great breath of fresh air as spring starts the journey back to summer. Inside the church there will be a warm welcome and an even warmer hot drink and a piece of cake! Early birds will also be able to buy local produce and cards. There is disability access and toilet facilities inside the church.

At 11am on Saturday 8th February, local tour guide Maggy Watkins, will give a talk on the Mayflower Pilgrims and other members of the Separatist Movement. This is the year of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival in America. This session will be an opportunity to find out everything you wanted to know about the Separatists but were afraid to ask!

Maggy Watkins giving a talk at Babworth Church

Babworth Church is an outstanding location to visit (from May to September it is open every Saturday afternoon) as it is in many ways the ‘crucible’ of the Separatist movement where Richard Clifton preached, assisted by John Robinson, and where Mayflower Pilgrims William Bradford and William Brewster travelled to hear him, risking fines or imprisonment for doing so. Part of the Separatists Exhibition will also be on display in the church throughout the weekend.

As well as its historic and architectural interest, there are also several ‘Mousey Thompson’ mice to find, keeping younger visitors entertained. Refreshments will be available.

All Saints’ Babworth Snowdrops Weekend – better than ever!

All Saints’ Parish Church in Babworth, the Pilgrims’ Church known as “the Church in the Woodland”, recently provided the ideal setting for a delightful display of snowdrops.

On the weekend of Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th February 2018, a steady stream of visitors exceeded last year’s record attendance numbers.

Churchwarden, Peter Swinscoe stated “we must have had over 1,000 people across the weekend – there has been a steady stream of visitors – it has been a very enjoyable time for everyone”.

They came to Babworth to walk the Snowdrops Trail and call in to the church to enjoy the homemade refreshments and gifts on sale, see the embroiderers working and listen to the talk .

On Sunday 10th, a talk by tour guide, Maggy Watkins, which covered a wide range of connections with the Mayflower Pilgrims, was very well attended. The story of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ struggle to escape arrest and leave for Holland fascinated an attentive and appreciative audience.

Throughout the weekend, a group of embroiderers led by Jenny King worked on their representations of five of the Pilgrims Churches (Austerfield, Scrooby, Babworth, Sturton-le-Steeple and St Swithun’s Retford). These artworks, when completed will hang in each of the churches for public view and will be available to come together as a feature for exhibitions etc. Bassetlaw Christian Heritage is currently raising funds for this work (contact us).

The papers of Revd Edmund Jessup who played a major role in establishing the Pilgrims’ story at Babworth, during his time as Vicar of Babworth (1950-85), were on display, as was the ‘Separatists and Mayflower Pilgrims’ exhibition, which included a description of the role of Rev Richard Clifton, who was a prominent Separatist and Rector of Babworth from 1586 to 1605.

There were many other wonders to see in the church, including stained glass windows by Kempe, Eginton, and Wailes. Furniture by “Mousey” Thompson also provided an exceptional attraction, with many visitors of all ages enjoying the challenge of ‘finding the mice’.

Forthcoming talks with Adrian Gray

DSCN2107
Adrian Gray with a copy of his new book, From Here We Changed the World

Thursday 18th October 2017, 7.30pm – Gainsborough

Adrian Gray will be giving a talk on Thursday 18th October at 7.30pm at Gainsborough House in Gainsborough (opposite the Old Hall) on ‘Religious Liberty: The Contribution of Notts and Lincs to Global Tolerance’.

Adrian, who leads ‘Pilgrims & Prophets Christian Heritage Tours’, will speak about how leaders from Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire helped to spread an understanding of religious tolerance that has been helping to change global attitudes.

Saturday 21st October 2017, 7pm – Lenton, Nottingham

Thomas Helwys, Baptist pioneer and campaigner for religious freedom, is one of the great men of Nottinghamshire history. Adrian Gray explains three key reasons why he is important in the World today, although he died in Newgate 400 years ago at a talk at Thomas Helwys Baptist Church (NG7 1SJ).

Tuesday 25th October 2017, 7pm – Wilmslow, Doncaster

Adrian Gray will give a talk on the puritans and pilgrims entitled ‘Why did they all come from here?’ at the Doncaster & District Family History Society, at the Doncaster School for the Deaf, Wilmslow (DN2 6AY).

Thursday 3rd November, 2-4pm – Lowdham

‘Nottinghamshire Christian Heritage’: Adrian Gray will give a talk explaining the contribution of Nottinghamshire men and women to the global development of Christianity. Full of human interest, bravery and tragedy.

Friday 4th November 2017, 9am-5pm – Retford

‘The Mayflower Pilgrims Tour’: This tour tells the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims through visiting the places where they lived and worshipped. Learn the history of your area! A great day out full of human interest. Coach tour £27.50 including lunch. Picks up at The Hub in Retford (09.00) then Retford at The Well and Worksop. Book by email to mail@pilgrimsandprophets.co.uk or ring 07724 848958.

Thursday 8th February 2018 – Retford

Talk on ‘Why did they all come from here?’ The Origins of the Mayflower Pilgrims – for Retford Inner Wheel at Ye Olde Bell, Barnby Moor.

ILLUMINATE – PILGRIMS FESTIVAL gets better and better

 

Beat that? They did! ILLUMINATE Pilgrims Festival gets better every year! 2016 events exceed the success of 2015 on the way to the 400th Anniversary in 2020.

From an inspiring art exhibition and fascinating talk at Babworth church to the closing presentation at Retford Town Hall… The week was filled to the brim with the stories and celebrations of the region and heritage – our ‘Mayflower Roots’.

The United States of America traces its origins to the people aboard the Mayflower and recognises the Pilgrims as its forebears.  Bradford and Brewster, came from Austerfield and Scrooby, with important influencers coming from Babworth – Clifton, and Robinson and Smyth came from Sturton-le-Steeple.  Because of this we have a ‘special relationship’ with the U.S. and it was celebrated in style at Spencer’s on the Square with an ‘Americana Eveningon Tuesday 22nd November.  Over 60 local people gathered for a glittering evening with a sumptuous early Thanksgiving dinner. Jessica Mary Brett and Max Bowker provided uplifting, toe-tapping entertainment – singing American classics from the 50s and 60s.

More than 150 people flocked to the picturesque Babworth Parish Church over the weekend of 19th/20th November to see the inaugural ‘Pilgrims Festival Art Exhibition’, and to listen to the knowledgeable Adrian Gray speak about “How Nottinghamshire Changed the World”. Thirty-nine diverse exhibits were on show – all the work of local artists who had their own individual interpretations of the Pilgrims’ story.  An exhibition which illustrated the Separatist and Mayflower Pilgrims story ran throughout the week in Retford Town Hall and was seen by over 300 visitors.

Heritage talks were given by Malcolm Dolby, who gave a fascinating talk on the life and times of William Bradford; Sue Allan provided a perceptive view of what life was like at the time of the Separatists; and Natasha Scullion delivered an absorbing look at St Martin’s, Bilborough, Hidden Treasures: The Building and its People’.

Last year, three primary schools (about 100 children) accessed the Pilgrims Story in an entertaining and educational way. This year, eight primary schools, plus local Cubs Brownies and Rainbows were engaged in Pilgrim-themed workshops and enjoyed Talegate Theatre, with their ‘Chronicles of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ – an uproariously funny look at the pioneering adventure, in which over 400 local schoolchildren participated. On Thursday 24th, Carr Hill Primary School gave an outstanding performance of a special play written by one of their governors, Barry Upton. This was attended by around 80 schoolchildren from Carr Hill, plus teachers and parents, and grandparents.

On Thursday 24th there were candle-lighting services during the day at the ‘Pilgrims Churches’ in Austerfield, Scrooby, Babworth, Sturton-le-Steeple, and Gainsborough (United Reformed Church). The day started at Gainsborough United Reformed Church with a service led by the Minister, Rev Dr Gillian Poucher, including clergy members from the local Anglican (Canon Mike Cooney) and Methodist (Rev Louise Carr) churches and members of the congregation. Then there was a service at St Peter & St Paul’s in Sturton-le-Steeple led by Rev Mark Cantrill and Barbara Bartle, Churchwarden, who dressed up for the part in outfits from the time of the Pilgrims. They were joined by pupils from nearby Sturton Primary School, who joined in question and answer sessions and began to understand the part that the village has played, through Robinson and Smyth, in the development of the beliefs of the modern Western World. Then there was a simple service at St Helena’s Church in Austerfield, where William Bradford was baptized, led by Rev Jonathan Strickland, assisted by Churchwarden, Sue Goodall. This was followed by a service at St Wilfrid’s Scrooby, led by Rev Julia Jesson, Area Dean, which was attended by Ed Marshall, Chair of the Parish Council, and members of the congregations of Scrooby, Ranskill and Blyth. At All Saints’ church in Babworth, in the afternoon, the service was led by Canon Tony Walker, Team Rector of Retford, and was attended by Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who had arrived specially from London for the evening, Rev Julia Jesson, Area Dean, and members of the Babworth and Ranby congregations.

St Swithun’s Parish Church in Retford welcomed all to a Civic Service on Thursday 24th November.  Rev Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, Chaplain to the Queen, Priest Vicar at Westminster Abbey and Priest in Charge of St Mary-at-Hill near Monument, gave the address and spoke powerfully and movingly about tolerance and caring.  Retford Post 16 Centre drama students performed an insightful interpretation of ‘Separatists, Rebels and Religion’ written and dramatised by Anna Scott and Neil Brownhill.  Worksop College Choir, VOX, and the North Wheatley Choir ‘Songbirds’ sang inspirational songs as part of the service, which told the story of the Pilgrims’ decision to leave England and seek a new life overseas.

The Civic Service was attended by Judge John Machin, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire; John Mann, MP; Cllr Jim Anderson, Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council; Cllr Garry Clarkson, Mayor of Retford; Ven David Picken, Archdeacon of Newark; Cllr Madelaine Richardson, Deputy Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council; Cllr George Derx, Deputy Mayor of Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council; Cllr Helen Richards, Deputy Mayor of Retford and Neil Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Bassetlaw District Council. Councillors from Bassetlaw, and West Lindsey, District Councils and local Parish Councils were also welcome guests.

The service began with candles being brought from churches at Austerfield, Scrooby, Babworth, Sturton-le-Steeple and Gainsborough (URC) to provide one light as remembered in William Bradford’s words ‘as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation.’    All those who took part in the Civic Service gathered in St Swithun’s churchyard to create a ‘400’ image again using lights to illuminate the shape in the darkness.  This is part of the national Mayflower 400 campaign led by Plymouth in Devon, England where towns with a connection to the Pilgrims Story are encouraged to hold an event based on light referring to the Bradford quote. Plymouth created the first ‘400’ in 2014, and Retford has participated in 2015 and 2016.

A Civic Reception was held in the Town Hall where Anna Scott, Heritage Consultant, introduced a sand art film showing the Pilgrims Story; Cllr Jim Anderson, Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council, reflected on the success of the week congratulating the organisers on having improved on the excellent 2015 events. This was followed by John Mann MP, who gave an inspiring speech on his commitment to the Pilgrims Story and its beneficial relevance to Bassetlaw. He also revealed that he had invited Richard Gere and Bruce Springsteen to visit Bassetlaw’s commemorations – it remains to be seen whether they will attend. The speeches were completed by Rick Brand, Chair, Bassetlaw Christian Heritage, who emphasized the focus on local engagement with the Pilgrims Story to ensure that the area in and around Bassetlaw connected with the Pilgrims benefitted beyond 2020.

This amazing week of celebrations culminated on Sunday 27th with the Christmas Market and Light Switch-on and an enchanting display of almost 100 beautifully decorated Christmas trees in St Swithun’s church (until 3rd December), and a Star Festival at Grove St Methodist Chapel.