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Mayor, mayoress join Mayflower pilgrimage

REPRESENTATIVES from Dartmouth have joined more than 80 UK leaders, chief executives and members of parliament at the launch of the Mayflower 400
in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.
Dartmouth’s mayor and mayoress Rob and Di Lyon were present at the signing of an agreement to celebrate and commemorate the significant journey of the Pilgrim Fathers almost 400 years ago.
Stephen Kearney, the man behind Radio Dart and the Café Lounge, has been appointed chief executive of a replica Mayflower being built in Harwich, where it all began in 1620.
Each destination partner was presented with a modern-day Mayflower Compact, a signed agreement to work together to mark the 400th anniversary in 2020 and beyond.
The original May-flower Compact was signed by 41 English colonists on the Mayflower on Nov-ember 11, 1620. It was the first written framework of government established in what is now the US.
All partners are backing the ambitious 2020 vision to mark the 400th anniversary of the historic event, celebrated in the US as the beginning of a national legacy, and in the UK as the beginning of one of the most enduring alliances the world has ever known.
Mayflower 400 is an initiative between several towns and cities, and Dartmouth, as one of the trail towns where the Mayflower sought shelter for repairs, along with her sister ship the Speedwell, on their epic journey, intends to put on a celebration to remember.
A Pilgrims’ village is planned in Royal Avenue Gardens and students at Dartmouth Academy and local primary schools are being invited to get involved.
One of the organisers, Roger Chilcott, said more volunteers were needed for a range of activities and events.
‘The whole project is beginning to gain momentum,’ said Mr Chilcott. ‘It may be five years away, but it will be here very quickly and there’s much to do.’
The centrepiece of the celebrations is an ambitious and inspiring project to build a replica of the Mayflower itself and sail it to the US in 2020 – possibly stopping in Dartmouth and other trail towns, as per the original ­voyage.
Speaking as the chief executive of the Harwich Mayflower Project, Mr Kearney said the project was an exciting and innovative initiative that would catalyse economic, social and cultural activities. He added that it will have a ­profound impact on the region.
‘The significance and importance of the celebrations of this historic event grows every day,’ he said. ‘Our partnership with Tendring District Council and Harwich Town Council is crucial, because at the heart of the whole Mayflower 400 celebration is the ship.’

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