The journey made in 1620 by The Pilgrims to the ‘New World’ in America is one of the most pivotal moments of the last 500 years and made Southampton known on a global scale. And the 400th anniversary commemorations for 2020 have been given a major boost with headline sponsorship in Southampton from leading regional law firm Paris Smith LLP.
The firm, which is currently celebrating its 200th anniversary and has landmark offices in Southampton and Winchester, is a keen supporter of the arts, local producers and community events. It’s well known for its long standing relationship with the arts, demonstrated by what is considered one of the longest running art and business sponsorships in the UK with The Mayflower Theatre, which is now in its 30th year.
The landmark deal sees the firm commit support over three years and will help deliver a programme of activity for the city during 2020 that will attract and entertain international visitors and well as locals.
The Mayflower 400 UK national visitor project promises a year long programme of events aiming to attract the descendants and other ancestral tourists to visit England and be a part of the anniversary year. The calendar in Southampton will highlight the city’s unique culture and heritage offering, and hopes for a significant increase in visitors particularly from the United States - many of whom were descended from those who sailed from Southampton.
Commenting on the announcement Paris Smith Senior Partner, Nick Vaughan said: “We thought we had reached a milestone having been based in Southampton for 200 years but turn the clock back a further 200 years and you have a momentous event in history. We are delighted to be sponsoring this truly global event and to celebrate the part played by Southampton.”
Project manager Jim Zalles of the Southampton Cultural Development Trust said: “The Mayflower 400 commemorations will be a transformational event for Southampton, and we’re thrilled that Paris Smith is supporting us on this journey. I’m an American, a project manager and theatre producer who read English History at university, so I’m delighted to be leading this project for the city. During 2020, we will be staging world class events and a cultural programme the city and its residents will be proud of.”
Mayflower 400 National Visitor Project Manager, Emma Tatlow said: “This is an international event to mark the 400th anniversary of the historic voyage and will bring together 11 UK destinations, each with their own connection to the story, alongside the United States of America, the Native American Community and the Netherlands for the first time. The commemoration will seek to unite the Southampton community and surrounding areas, inspire creativity, drive economic growth, enhance the visitor experience and promote understanding and education of this pivotal moment in history.”
Brad Roynon Chair of Southampton Cultural Development Trust said: “This is another great example of how Southampton is delivering world class experiences for its residents and visitors from across the globe. Southampton Cultural Development Trust is proud to be supporting the development of this exciting programme and is pleased to have been able to help bring such an influential and powerful business to the table as a sponsor. It’s exactly what the Mayflower 400 celebration and this city needs and we salute the ambition of the organisation and team at Paris Smith which recognises the opportunity to make something great happen through collaboration.”
The core programme for Mayflower 400 Southampton is currently being developed with partners across the city. The programme is scheduled to be launched later this year alongside opportunities for community and other groups to get involved and to run their own activities to celebrate.
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NOTES TO EDITORS About Mayflower 400
2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the historic voyage of the Mayflower ship from the UK to the ‘New World’ of America. The anniversary will commemorate the legacy of the passengers and crew who undertook the epic journey inspired by an unquenchable desire for freedom; and for who the voyage promised new found liberty. The International Mayflower Compact partnership has been created to align 11 core UK member destinations across England, alongside the United States of America, the Native American community and the Netherlands. The international Mayflower compact partners are united in their passion to commemorate the anniversary and to celebrate shared values of freedom, democracy, humanity and the future.
The 11 UK destinations are working together for the first time. Each with their own unique connection to the story, a new ‘Mayflower Trail’ has been developed for visitors to explore. During 2020, destinations will stage a world class events and cultural programme to commemorate the journey of the Mayflower Pilgrims. The commemorations will recognise the impact of the Mayflower’s journey on Native American communities and address themes of migration, tolerance, freedom and democracy that have such contemporary relevance, as well as the long-standing relationship between the UK and the US and the history of Thanksgiving, ensuring the Mayflower’s legacy lives on. There are over 25 million descendants of the passengers and crew who sailed on the Mayflower.
A press pack and resources can be found at https://www.mayflower400uk.org/media/
About Paris Smith
Paris Smith LLP was established in Southampton in 1818 and is celebrating its 200th year in 2018.
About Southampton Cultural Development Trust Southampton Cultural Development Trust was founded to support the development of Southampton’s Cultural Quarter, through fundraising and advocacy. It helped raise funds to support the opening of the SeaCity Museum (2012) and Studio 144 (opening 2018), by actively developing support from grant-making organisations individuals, business, and educational institutions. Since 2017 the Trust has taken on a wider strategic role, supporting the arts and culture within the whole city to work together, maximising the potential of Southampton's cultural infrastructure, and providing strategic direction. www.culturesouthampton.org.uk
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