THE spa town of Droitwich, best known for its salt connections, will be paying tribute to its Pilgrim Father Edward Winslow on July 4 as part of national celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the ship Mayflower. 

Born in 1595 in Droitwich and baptised in St Peters church, Winslow was one of the first pilgrims to America, who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620.  Mayflower 400 will be a national commemoration, remembering the lives of the Mayflower Pilgrims, the Native American people they encountered and their legacy.

Alex Sinton, leader of Droitwich Town Council, said: “We are looking forward to marking this commemorative anniversary with a special free event in Droitwich Spa. We are proud to be part of the National Mayflower 400 event programme which connects Droitwich’s unique history in a global context. We really hope local artists and community groups will get in touch to be involved in what promises to be a truly memorable day.”

A free event, the Mayflower 400 Community Day will explore the themes of freedom, humanity and imagination and will include storytelling, music, performance, virtual reality and craft for all the family.

Programme highlights will include work from one of the UK’s leading street theatre and circus companies Acrojou with its show All At Sea, set in a boat, and Poetry Jukebox by artist and theatre maker Adie Mueller with a selection of poetry chosen to be performed especially for this event.

Also confirmed are regional companies including children’s opera company B’Opera with its especially devised A Mayflower Tale, to be performed on the bandstand in Lido Park, and Worcestershire based White Socks Theatre, which will present a children’s show about Edward Winslow and the sailing of the ship in Droitwich Spa Library.

On the day, audiences will also be able to take a walk through history on the Mayflower ship itself with virtual reality experiences created by local resident Professor Robert Stone, visiting professor in XR & Telepresence, and his human interface technologies team at The University of Birmingham.

The Community Day programming team are seeking local community groups and artists to create or perform throughout the day, already confirmed are the local Rock Choir performing on the main stage along with Westacre Middle school.

The Mayflower 400 Community Day is being funded by Droitwich Spa Town Council, Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council and Arts Council England. The main sponsor is local company Churchfields, creators of Droitwich Salt, and owner Will Kerton said: “As many know Winslow was from a salt merchant family and we will be bringing Droitwich Salt into the food offer for the day with special salt burgers and Ice cream.”