Southampton plants ‘Pilgrim 400’ apple tree
Southampton is just one of 18 locations to receive one of the new ‘Pilgrim 400’ apple trees, a new variety of apple discovered in Nottinghamshire, home of many of the Puritan Separatists who sailed on the Mayflower ship. The apple, grown especially by horticulturalist and BBC Gardening Correspondent John Stirland, who was on hand to oversee proceedings, commemorates the 400th anniversary of the now famous journey. It is gifted to the city by Bassetlaw District Council.
The planting ceremony held 11 February 2020, at Cuckoo Lane Park, behind the Mayflower Monument, was led The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor, Councillor Peter Baillie. Children from St John’s School were invited, in recognition of their School of Sanctuary status, which is awarded for work in developing tolerance and understanding; these are key themes for Southampton’s Mayflower 400 programme. We are grateful for the support of the Friends of Town Quay Park, without whom this planting would not be possible.
The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor, Councillor Peter Baillie said: “In planting this tree, we remember those Pilgrims from Nottinghamshire who left from Southampton 400 years ago in search of a new life. In a spot only yards from where they set sail for the New World, this tree will not only mark their journey, but it will act as a reminder to us all of the faith, courage and perseverance of the many thousands of people who followed their footsteps through Southampton on journeys of hope.”
Caterina Loriggio, Mayflower 400 Anniversary Director, said: “We are grateful to our partners in Bassetlaw and to John Stirling for this symbolic gift. The Mayflower 400 programme is delivered not only by partner organisations across Southampton, but also by partners across the UK and the US. By working together, we hope to strengthen and amplify our offers to both local communities and to international visitors.”