The government has awarded an additional £250,000 to Mayflower 400, a project which will mark the 400th anniversary in 2020 of the sailing of the Mayflower to the US.
The Mayflower transported 102 people from Britain and Netherlands – many of them pilgrims –arriving in Cape Cod on November 11.
The funding will be used to encourage American visitors to join the anniversary in England and to develop a digital Mayflower trail, which will bring to life stories, heritage and culture of each location involved in the commemorations. This is set to be launched in November 2019.
Plymouth in Devon is leading a national partnership of 11 English destinations that are developing a programme of cultural events and activities as part of the anniversary.
Many of the events will showcase themes that will appeal to US visitors, such as Magna Carta and the rule of law, Mayflower, Virginia and early American colonisation, the Second World War, the US military and the special relationship.
The Mayflower 400 commemorations will form the main part of a wider, year-long national and international cultural programme connecting England, the US, the native American Nation and the Netherlands in the four-nation commemoration.
The latest grant award follows a recent visit to Plymouth’s historic waterfront area by Michael Ellis, tourism minister (pictured).
Ellis said anniversaries such as Mayflower 400 “play a vital role in proving that the UK is open for business”.
He added: “This has the potential to have a similar effect on the city as the UK City of Culture 2017 had in Hull, and will have on Coventry in 2021. That’s why we fully support the commemorations, which will play a major part in ensuring a strong legacy for Plymouth as a tourist destination.”
Amanda Lumley, executive director of Destination Plymouth, said: “We are delighted that the government has recognised the opportunity that Mayflower 400 presents, not just in 2020 as part of the main anniversary commemoration but the legacy that can continue as the whole east coast of America turns 400 over the next 10 years.”