Plymouth Lighting the Way To 2020

The Mayflower Steps (Image provided by Stewart Mandy)

Our reporter, Stewart Mandy, has been in England for the last two weeks. Earlier in the year, he visited the city of Plymouth, known as “Britain’s Ocean City”. If you missed his report in May, you can see it here: This week, he re-visited Plymouth, to learn more about the upcoming ‘Mayflower 400’ celebrations.


PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND – Did you know it is estimated that over 16 million Americans living today are directly descended from the Pilgrim Fathers, who set sail from this English coastal city on 16th September 1620, landing in Cape Cod, in what is now Massachusetts some 66 days later on 21st November 1620? From there, they continued, finally arriving in the colony of Plimoth, a month later.

Their vessel of course was the “Mayflower”, and on 20th November this year, thousands of people are expected to gather on The Hoe in Plymouth, England for a special ‘illuminate’ event to mark the start of the official countdown to the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s sailing. A day later, on 21st November, the event will take place in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Mayflower II (Image provided by Stewart Mandy)
Mayflower II (Image provided by Stewart Mandy)

In Plymouth, England, a civic service, led by the Lord Mayor will take place at the Mayflower Steps, from 6pm, featuring a performance by the Plymouth International Choir. During the service one candle will be lit by a descendant of one of the Pilgrim Fathers, followed by a further 1,000 candles to be lit on The Hoe to illustrate the quote by Governor William Bradford in his book ‘Of Plimoth Plantation’ which states, “As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled has shown unto many.” The aim of the event is to ‘share the light’ and inspire a sense of unity between the two cities of Plymouth as well as those at the event.

Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Tudor Evans said: “Illuminate marks the first official event to start the countdown to Mayflower 2020, the 400th anniversary of the historic sailing. This is a significant part of our history and this is an exciting moment for our community to come together, not only unite with our sister-city in the US but to celebrate Plymouth’s part in the voyage.”

The Mayflower Steps (Image provided by Stewart Mandy)
The Mayflower Steps (Image provided by Stewart Mandy)

Following the service at the Mayflower Steps the delegation will join the Step Up for Respect Parade, as they walk in an illuminated procession containing over 400 people, some holding giant illuminated props including a Mayflower Ship, to The Hoe where the additional candles will be lit.

The celebration will continue on the Hoe with performances by the volunteer Military Band and entertainment coordinated by Plymouth Dance and Plymouth Music Zone. Visitors will be asked to light their candles and take part in a group formation, which from the air will create the number ‘400’. The evening will end with a bang with a single firing by the Devonport Cannon, announcing the official countdown to 2020, which is intended to be a transformational year for the city.


By Stewart Mandy


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Stewart Mandy
Stewart Mandy thumbnail

Born in Europe, raised in the Middle East, and a long-time resident in the Americas, Stewart has been based in Mérida, Yucatan since 2010, and has lived and worked worldwide in the media, travel, tourism and transportation industries for well over 20 years. His local contacts and global knowledge provide him with unmatched access to the stories ‘behind the stories’ and he likes to take you to the places that others don’t or won’t go. From the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, from Moscow to Melbourne, from Bergen to Buenos Aires, Stewart has been there. Chances are, wherever you are heading, he knows the score.

In addition to The Yucatan Times, Stewart contributes (or has contributed) to “The Examiner” (, “Business Briefings”, “Cruise & Ferry Magazine” and “The Apollo Magazine”. He is a former editor of “rolling pin CRUISE” magazine.

He can be contacted by email at or You can join him on Facebook at, follow him on Twitter @stewartmandy or visit his website at or his blog at



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