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Big year for Harleston celebrating sailing of Mayflower



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It is not a good time to be a turkey when America celebrates Thanksgiving Day.

But more historic fare will be served when Harleston begins its celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, which took settlers to New England.

Harleston and Redenhall have strong connections with the early colonists because on board the Mayflower were four members of a local family escaping religious intolerance in England.

Trevor Graham pictured at St John's Church in Harleston who is one of the organisers of the Mayflower events in Harleston..Mark Bullimore Photography 2019. (19484095)
Trevor Graham pictured at St John's Church in Harleston who is one of the organisers of the Mayflower events in Harleston..Mark Bullimore Photography 2019. (19484095)

The highpoint of Harleston’s year of celebrations will be next July when members of the Fuller Society – descendants of the Fullers of Redenhall who sailed from Plymouth to the New World – visit the town their ancestors left.

Spelt bread and a chicken and sweetcorn stew, contributed by Tudor Bakehouse and the Country Market, will be served to children of the primary school when they visit St John’s Church on Thanksgiving Day on November 28 for the start of national celebrations to mark Mayflower’s sailing in 1620.

The children will soon begin to make 400 origami ships – one for each year since the Mayflower sailing and each with a message from a pupil – which will be suspended from the roof of St John’s.

Next year the ships will be taken to St Mary’s at Redenhall which, the Fuller family regarded as their “home” church, ready for the visit of the Fuller Society.

Trevor Graham, one of the organisers of the Harleston celebrations, said the town had largely forgotten its connection with the Mayflower, but now it was being widely talked about, and organisations – including the Young Farmers, who are planning to build a straw bale replica of the Mayflower on John Renaut’s farm in Redenhall Road – were coming forward to take part.

“It is going to be a big year for the town,” said Mr Graham.



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