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Sailing High in the Church

400 years after four members of the Fuller family from Redenhall set sail on The Mayflower, with close on another 100 pilgrim passengers, for a perilous voyage to new lives in the New World - 300 young children from Harleston C of E Primary Academy walked with their teachers to St John’s Church to launch the Mayflower 400 in Harleston project, a year long programme of activities to highlight the anniversary.

Seated within a scale outline of the Mayflower deck space the children re-enacted the rigours of the 66-day voyage, the violence of the waves, the rolling motion of the ship and the lack of space. Volunteers from Harleston’s Future, wearing early 17th century period dress, prepared and served Thanksgiving Day broth and spelt bread.

Drawings of the Mayflower, coloured by the children, were on display, and words children had written about the pilgrims’ hopes, and the privations of the voyage, were read aloud.

Guest of Honour was Airman Joshua Horton from California, based at RAF Mildenhall and representing the 100th Air Refuelling Wing USAF. Airman Joshua (pictured), helped by academy pupils Eva Blunt and Ben Nugent both aged 5, raised the Mayflower 400 Harleston logo high in the nave to join a flotilla of origami boats and to signal the start of the 400 anniversary commemorative programme. 'High Fives' with Joshua were delightedly returned by the children as they left; and each was given a special souvenir badge to wear around town.


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